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Do you know what’s in your pad or tampon? If you’re like most, you may innocently assume cotton or those blue-gel things from the commercials. However, many period products contain chemicals and toxins you may not want to put inside your highly absorptive vagina. Polluted menstrual products are a sure-fire way to get unwanted chemicals directly into the bloodstream, affecting hormonal health and fertility. Choosing non-toxic period products will reduce toxic exposure, supporting hormone health and fertility.
These chemical by-products come from bleaching cotton and rayon fibers for tampons and pads.
Dioxins are considered:
VOCs are gasses that can be emitted from many products including paints and pesticides and may also show up in your tampon. These compounds have been associated with kidney, liver and nervous system damage. (5)
Unless the cotton is listed as organic, it will have been exposed to pesticides, such as glyphosate (aka round-up). Glyphosate was listed by WHO in 2015 as “probably carcinogenic” (6) According to Real Food for Pregnancy, glyphosate harms the body’s gut and liver function; two things vital to a healthy pregnancy. (15)
These are man-made chemicals found in fabrics and packaging that are stain and water-repellant. See recent Thinx scandal
Potential risks with exposure:
Phthalates, parabens, BPA, and TCC are common additives to personal care products for their plasticizer and antimicrobial properties.
Plasticizers provide flexibility and help fragrance stick, so what’s the problem?
The down side: all of these ingredients are linked to throwing off the very delicate balance of our hormones. Balanced hormones are vital for fertility, pregnancy, and overall health.
Potential risks with exposure:
No longer sounding too nice and innocent.
These chemicals are found in pads, tampons, and panty liners. One study found a higher concentration of phthalates in diapers and pads than many commercial plastic products.(11)
You may also like: 5 toxins to avoid in your beauty products
Don’t recall seeing “VOC’s” or “Dioxins” listed on the packaging for any period products? Menstrual products such as pads and tampons are technically “medical devices,” so the FDA does not require manufacturers to disclose ingredients. (5,14) This is why it is important to look for companies committed to ingredient transparency, sourcing and third-party validation.
Have a busy day? Menstrual cups are low maintenance period dream! Set it and forget it (for up to 12 hours), then wash, rinse and repeat. They are great for heavy or light flows, so no need to change what you use through your cycle. Since they only need replacing once a year, menstrual cups reduce waste and save money.
Recommended Brands: Diva Cup, OrganiCup, Cora Cup, Saalt Cup
These are an amazing alternative to conventional disposable pads. Choose a pad made with organic cotton or bamboo fibers. Reusable pads will decrease plastic waste, exposure to toxic ingredients and cut your monthly menstrual cost!
Recommended Brands: Luna Pads, Glad Rags
Free flowing mess-free with period underwear is an amazing period and postpartum option. However, not all period underwear is a non-toxic alternative. Popular period panties Thinx were recently found to contain PFAS when tested by a third party. We recommend holding off on purchasing until they can improve their transparency and product quality.
Knix leak proof period underwear is made with carbon cotton that naturally reduces odor and bacteria. These panties are a great period back-up when worn with a cup or for lighter flow days. They hold 3 mL of liquid, about the same as a light tampon. All Knix products are free of PFAS and OEKO-TEX® certified (this is a certification that tests textiles for harmful substances).
Non-toxic reusable pads and period underwear do require an upfront investment, however you do get your investment back with reusability.
Maybe the thought of reusable period products has you grossed out. Totally fair.
Here are some disposable and non-toxic alternatives:
Ditch the douche, sprays, and scented tampons, ya’ll. Your vagina does not need to smell like a tide commercial.
Be aware of the hidden toxins out there, so that you can make an educated product choice that is best for you and your flow.
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