As a society, we don’t often talk about menstruation. It’s okay, we get it. But unfortunately the taboo that surrounds this topic keeps a few dirty secrets hidden – secrets that involve chemicals and pesticides in the products we, as women, use every month.
Most people think of cotton as a natural product, but in reality it is one of the most chemically laden crops in the world. In 2000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 80 million pounds of pesticides were applied to the nation’s 14.4 million acres of cotton. And some studies report that twenty-six percent of the world’s pesticide use is sprayed on cotton. That’s a lot of chemicals.
So, let’s get real. Many of us put a lot of effort into eating clean, organic food. We’re hyper-aware of what we put into our bodies, and even on our skin – and that same consciousness must apply to the pads and tampons we use each month. Need a little more reality? It’s estimated that a woman will use an average of 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. Cumulatively, the effects of using chemically treated and pesticide enriched feminine care products is huge.
Beyond the effects to our health and wellbeing, the other secret is the detrimental toll feminine care products have on the environment. Each year, billions of plastic-laden pads and tampon applicators are disposed of, ending up in landfill sites and even oceans around the world. And the time it takes for a tampon or pad to degrade in a landfill is years longer than the lifespan of the woman who used it. It’s a gross reality that no one talks about, but we should because it matters.
Here’s the silver lining: there are better – much better – options out there. While it’s unlikely that you will hear the truth from conventional feminine care products (after all, pads and tampons are classified as “medical devices” by the FDA, so companies don’t have to disclose potential risks like exposure to toxins, pesticides or bleach), you can find many natural options made from 100% organic cotton, and biodegradable materials. And if you’re worried about the efficacy of natural options, that same little rule that allows conventional companies to hide risks also requires every company to prove consistency in absorbency levels. So, yes, natural options are just as effective as those chemical-laden, non-biodegrading conventional options we all grew up with.
Still don’t know where to start, or don’t want to spend a fortune on an unfortunate necessity? We’ve got you covered! You can find several alternatives in our Wellness Department, including menstrual cups and an entire line of Earth Fare brand pads and tampons made with organic cotton. Just in case you’re not convinced, here are a few bonuses to making the switch:
- Studies have shown that over 80% of women who react to contact with plastic and synthetic materials have reported that they prefer cotton.
- Recent studies prove that using organic cotton feminine care products reduces skin irritation in 90% of women in 3 months.
- Natural (chemical-free) cotton fibers are breathable and pH neutral.
- Earth Fare Feminine Care products are 100% naturally absorbent, 100% hypoallergenic, 100% free of chlorine, plastics, chemicals and fragrances.