Why make the switch?
Conventional disposable pads and tampons are expensive, particularly to the environment. In the UK alone we use a whopping 4.3 billion disposable sanitary products every year. Disposable pads are made almost entirely of plastic, there is roughly four bags worth of plastic in one disposable pad, these can take over 500 years to breakdown. An average woman will be throwing away about 11,000 pads or tampons in her life as well as their plastic packaging, creating a huge amount of un-recyclable waste. Some of which will end up as plastic pollution in our oceans, it’s estimated that in the UK 1.4 million sanitary towels and 2.5 million tampons are flushed down the toilet every day. In 2016 the Marine Conservation Society found 20 tampons and sanitary items per 100 metres of shoreline. Plastic tampon applicators are washing up on beaches in their thousands! Bits of plastic are often ingested by marine wildlife as they are mistaken as food. This causes serious injury or death to the animal and further damage to the marine ecosystem.
Currently, disposable pad and tampon manufacturers are not legally required to disclose their ingredients – and they don’t! In 2018 Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), a US National women’s health nonprofit, conducted independent product testing. The results showed undisclosed toxic chemicals in tampons. Carbon disulfide a compound commonly used in the manufacture of rayon, and a known reproductive toxin, was found present in all tampons tested containing rayon. Other reproductive toxins were also found such as toluene and xylene, as well as methylene chloride – a carcinogen. Past testing of tampons and pads have shown pesticide residue, furans, parabens and phthalates all endocrine disruptors. Trace levels of dioxins were also found to be present, dioxin is a highly toxic environmental persistent organic pollutant, which is linked to cancer. Conventional disposable pads and tampons are also bleached white with chlorine during manufacturing to make them look white and hygienic. There are no scientific studies assessing the risk to women’s health from the use of these products, and there are a lot of unknown’s when it comes to the ingredients used. Many women suffer with external allergic reactions to additives such as perfumes.