Pads and Tampons Ridden with Toxic Chemicals
August 27, 2013
By Sano Mag Staff
Pads and Tampons Ridden with Toxic Chemicals
Most of us try to watch what we put in our bodies, so why should tampons and pads be any different? The largest organ in the body, the skin is able to rapidly absorb and transport toxins throughout the body.

With such close contact, chemicals in pads and tampons are able to leach directly through the skin into your body. And yet, most commercial varieties of pads, tampons and panty liners contain a host of dangerous chemicals.

As well as the massive health risks, pads and tampons are a huge burden on the environment and on women's purses. So why do women continue to buy toxic pads and tampons?

Well, largely thanks to very clever advertising campaigns. How many ads have you seen for "silky", "smooth", "cottony", "made for comfort" tampons, pads and panty liners? In fact, most of these brands of pads and tampons are totally synthetic and don't include any cotton at all!

Most Pads and Tampons Are Bathed in Chemicals

Despite claims by major brands of tampons and pads, most feminine hygiene products are made from wood pulp and chemicals rather than cotton. And only organic varieties of pads and tampons that are made from 100% organic cotton such as the Organyc range are chemical free.

In many of your popular commercial varieties of tampons, panty liners and pads, the ingredients can include:
  • Dioxin and disinfection-by-products (DBPs) such as trihalomethane: these chemicals are created when the tampon or pad is bleached with chlorine. Dioxin is not only incredibly toxic, it is also a hormone disruptor and a known carcinogen.
  • Oestrogen: This encourages heavier flow.
  • Pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers in non-organic cotton.
  • Phthalates: chemical plasticisers that are used in plastic tampon applicators and cardboard applicators.
  • Polypropylene: a type of plastic which can withstand very high temperatures.
  • Rayon: made from wood or cotton pulp, rayon is an artificial fibre that is highly chemically processed and highly absorbent, and it can lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome in tampons.
  • Viscose: a wood pulp that is treated with toxic chemicals such as caustic soda and sulphuric acid.

Pads and Tampons Cause Allergic Reactions

The bleached wood pulp used in disposable pads and panty liners requires a series of chemical baths in order to turn the wood into the fluffy fibres that you will find in your pads and panty liners. This pulp is then further processed with numerous bleaching agents to make them white, and then treated with more chemicals to make them absorbent and add scent. It is the last thing you want in direct contact with your skin!

While chemical exposure and allergic reactions are commonplace with pads and tampons, many women who experience symptoms go undiagnosed. If you suffer from irritation, allergic reactions or yeast infections, you might want to try an alternative, such as menstrual cups.

Disposable Pads and Tampons are a Burden on the Environment

In Australia and New Zealand, well over 700 million tampons and 1 billion pads reach our landfills every year. Most women use an average of 11,000 pads and tampons in their lifetime. These products also come in non-biodegradable plastic packaging which also end up in landfills, sewerage systems or down our drains and consequently in the oceans or washed up on beaches.

This equates to millions of tonnes of waste every year! Pads, panty liners and tampons that are non-biodegradable also don't break down so this huge burden on the environment is permanent. Pads and tampons are also very costly equating to a huge burden financially on women, teens and on households generally.

What are the Alternatives to Pads and Tampons?

The good news is that there are many safe alternatives to non-biodegradable, toxic, disposable pads, tampons and panty liners. It is just a matter of fighting through the propaganda and educating yourself about the options available in Australia.

Menstrual cups are one alternative. Silicone menstrual cups such as the Diva Cup are hypoallergenic, don't cause waste, are much more convenient, particularly when travelling, and less expensive, as they only need to be replaced around every 10 years!

Reusable cloth pads are another option, are safe for the environment, easy to wash and are much more affordable. They also come in pretty patterns. Make sure you choose ones that are made from non-synthetic, organic and breathable materials.

If you prefer the convenience of tampons, pads and panty liners there are safe alternatives available. Make sure you choose brands that are made from 100% organic cotton, are biodegradable and unbleached or at least aren't bleached with chlorine. Organyc's line of pads, tampons and panty liners are one option. Find out more about Organyc here.
"Most brands of pads and tampons are made of wood pulp and bathed in chemicals to make them absorbent and don't actually include any cotton at all!"