Feminine care products such as pads and tampons seem like the last thing we should have to worry about being safe. Choosing better alternatives to the food we eat and the personal care products we use makes sense, but pads and tampons…Really?!
I’ll be honest. I would have thought the same thing several years ago, that this was some sort of ‘out-there’ extreme…
Before you write this off as an extreme measure, you need to know the shocking truth about feminine care products.
How it Affects Your Health
We know that our skin is a permeable organ and absorbs a large percentage of what we put onto it (which is why transitioning to natural beauty and skincare is so crucial). The skin down there however, is very thin and highly vascular which means it is even more permeable, (highly absorbent).
A report by the National Institute for Health states that “mucous membranes in the vagina and vulva rapidly absorb chemicals without metabolizing them”. (source)
Is the impact really that significant?
Simply put, yes. It is estimated that the average woman uses between 16,800-24,000 tampons or pads in her lifetime. As you can tell, our exposure really adds up. So even though you’re only using them a few days a month, you’re getting an accumulation of exposure over time.
A lot of women even notice significantly less menstrual pain after switching to safe feminine care products. (This is important- and some believe that the toxins absorbed by the body from these products can contribute to even more painful periods.)
The Shocking Truth about Feminine Care Products
Pads and tampons seem quite harmless at first. We’ve never been taught to question the ingredients, or what’s they’re really made of. We just assume they’re safe because, well, they’re on the shelves.
The shocking (and sad!) truth is that they aren’t as harmless as you may think. Here’s why.
Conventional pads and tampons contain:
- Synthetic Rayon
Rayon is a synthetic material that is used in conventional feminine care products because it is cheaper than cotton. The problem is that rayon is highly absorbent and has been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome.
- Chlorine Dioxide
Feminine care products are bleached with chlorine dioxide to make them bright white and clean. This is done with chlorine dioxide, which leads to the toxic byproduct dioxin. We know that dioxin is linked to serious health risks and the EPA has stated that there is no safe level of exposure to dioxin. (Yet we’re using these feminine care products for hours and hours each month.)
- Petrochemical Additives
Conventional feminine care products are suspected to contain petrochemical additives.
To learn how to choose safe feminine care products, grab your free cheatsheet by clicking the button below.
- Plasticizing Chemicals and Crude Oil Plastics
This article states that chemicals such as BPA, BPS, Phthalates, and others (yes the plastic chemicals used in water bottles and cans!) are often in conventional pads and tampons. These give tampons their smooth finish and have been linked in countless studies to hormone disruption, cancer, even infertility.
- Odor Neutralizers and ‘Fragrances’
We know that the term ‘fragrance’ is nothing other than a cocktail of chemicals. Feminine care products that are scented or contain odor neutralizers contain these harmful substances and are putting us at risk.
- Pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms
“An estimated 94 percent of the cotton in the U.S. is genetically modified according to the USDA, and likely contains a considerable amount of glyphosate…That could make using everyday tampon brands much more harmful than most had thought.” (source)
These harmful substances have the great potential to be absorbed by the body and into the bloodstream, contributing to serious health concerns.
Another scary truth…
Because pads and tampons are considered “medical devices”, companies are not required to disclose the ingredients used to make their products. So even if you are concerned about what’s in your feminine care products, you’re going to have a hard time discovering the truth.
Don’t you think you should have the right to know what you’re putting in your body each month? You do!
Unfortunately, if you take a look at conventional boxes of pads and tampons, you won’t find the ingredient list. Remember, if you can’t find the ingredient list that is a red flag!
How to Choose Safer Feminine Care Products
Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you that you’d have to give up feminine care products altogether to avoid toxic chemicals! Thankfully, there are much safer options so that you can avoid these harmful chemicals in feminine care products entirely.
Here are a few things to look for when buying feminine care products:
- An ingredient list
- Another option is a menstrual cup (which is a zero-waste and environmentally-friendly option)
What you need to know about 100% Cotton
This can be confusing because brands will advertise “100% cotton”. This seems like it must be a safe alternative, but there are some things to consider when buying cotton feminine care products. I’ve outlined them in the cheatsheet below.
Get the cheatsheet to find out what you need to look for in feminine care products, as well as the pros & cons of each option you have. It also includes a list of the best brands to try! Just click the button below to download it for free!
If you’re already enjoying the library, you can access it here and use the password I sent you to login!
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry! It is really an easy switch to make once you decide on the alternative that works best for you.
A quick word of encouragement: You may be feeling overwhelmed and about ready to throw your hands up, thinking ‘well toxins are everywhere so there’s really no point in trying’. If you’re just starting out on your health journey and starting to make better choices, it can be overwhelming to learn about yet another topic that is ‘toxic’ and needs your attention. Let me tell you that I have been exactly where you are right now and I completely understand. Just remember that most of the time, this journey is simply about making better choices and choosing safer options.
This was not written to overwhelm you, but to share the truth with you about a topic that you have every right to be informed about; to empower you, so that you have everything you need to make the best decision for your health.
You have every right to know exactly what is in your feminine care products. Don’t make the mistake I did and assume that these products are safe simply because they are on the shelves.
Remember, companies are not required to disclose ingredient lists for feminine care products such as pads and tampons. Make sure you know what’s in your feminine care products because toxins, plasticizers, and substances linked to cancer have no business being in such an intimate product. Wouldn’t you agree?
Does this cause you to think twice about what’s really in your pads and tampons? Are you going to make the switch to natural and safe feminine care products? Share with a friend who needs to know this important info!
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Hannah is the founder and health educator at Healthfully Hannah, empowering women to live healthfully through science-based, step-by-step guidance. Read Hannah’s personal health journey that led her to discover the power of Functional Medicine and Nutrition. Feel free to send Hannah a message here.
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