Are Natural Tampons and Pads Worth It?
Posted byAimee McNew, MNT
Natural tampons and other feminine products are becoming increasingly popular, but are they worth the hype? Women are intimately familiar with menstrual products as, for most of them, they are required on a monthly basis. Check out these differences between conventional and natural or organic feminine products.
Toxins in Tampons and Pads
While most women don’t think anything of the ingredients in their pads and tampons, the fact that most women use these products for as long as a full week every month means many contact hours directly with skin. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the skin absorbs, to an extent, substances it comes into contact with. The duration of contact, the surface area of skin exposed, and the concentration and composition of the chemical, among other factors, influence the extent of the absorption.1
Here are two chemicals that may be hidden in your feminine products:
- Phthalates. Phthalates, a form of plastic used in many products with fragrance, may be found in scented pads or feminine products used to disguise vaginal odors, according to the Environmental Working Group.2
- Dioxins. Dioxins is another chemical found in tampons and pads as a result of bleaching to appear white and clean, notes Environmental Health Perspectives.3
Organic and Natural Alternatives
While some women feel like natural tampons or organic feminine products are produced so that manufacturers can charge more money, the fact is that they also may not contain the same ingredients or toxins found in traditional feminine products.
Natural alternatives range from organic cotton tampons and pads, which are not bleached, to reusable products like fabric pads, menstrual cups, and period underwear that are designed to eliminate the need for pads altogether. Period panties are constructed of absorbent materials with a protective outer layer to prevent leaking. (Surprisingly, they can be sort of cute, too! But they take a brave woman to go completely pad- or tampon-free.)
You may balk at the idea of laundering menstrual items, but it may be worth it. Each type comes with simple laundering instructions. Also, you’re helping the planet; reusable pads are green! No more overflowing bathroom wastebaskets. No more running out of pads and making last-minute trips to the store — you have everything you need ready to go each month, without added expense. While the initial investment on most reusable, green menstrual products can feel steep, if you add up what you spend on pads, tampons and panty liners in a year and you’ll realize they’re comparable in price.
Before You Buy, Have the Research by Your Side
You may not even think twice about the tampons and pads you use monthly, but maybe you should take a closer look at the ingredients. Some companies put disclaimers right on the box, letting you know that their products are free of certain additives. Your doctor is a fount of knowledge, so if you’re concerned about chemicals’ effect on your body, schedule an appointment.
1“Skin Exposure and Effects.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. July 2, 2013. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/skin/.
2Fall, Michael E. “Feminine Care Product Increases Women’s Exposure to Harmful Phthalates.” Environmental Working Group. July 17, 2015. http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2015/07/feminine-care-product-increases-women-s-exposure-harmful-phthalates.
3Nicole, Wendee. “A Question for Women’s Health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products and Personal Lubricants.” Environmental Health Perspectives. March 2014. Accessed February 13, 2017. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/122-a70/.
- Posted by Aimee McNew, MNT
- On May 22, 2017