A new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives outlined how, until recently, scant research existed on the effect chemicals in tampons and sanitary pads might have on women’s health. A report by the not-for-profit organisation Women’s Voices for the Earth found that feminine hygiene products can contain known or suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals, carcinogens or allergens.
US physician Dr Joseph Mercola says, “Less than one-tenth of an inch separates your body from potential toxins. Worse yet, your skin is highly permeable.” Mercola says “anything coming in constant contact with your skin will land in your bloodstream for distribution throughout your body”.
Susie Hewson has been educating women about dioxin and synthetics for 27 years. She launched Natracare to provide an alternative to conventionally produced feminine hygiene products, including certified organic cotton tampons and chlorine-free sanitary pads.
Today, Hewson works alongside other women’s campaign groups including Women’s Voices for the Earth, who help to “amplify the important message about petroleum-based plastics and super absorbents, absorbent foams, dyes and other unnecessary additives being applied to conventional menstrual products and brands”.
Hewson says “it is still important to keep repeating the message to make sure women understand the personal and environmental risks”. Drion is another brand offering alternatives, with sanitary pads and panty liners that are anatomically designed, hypoallergenic and support menstrual comfort.
Drion’s Belinda Falconer says, “For many years, I was a tampon consumer, blissfully unaware of their dangers and in denial about toxic shock syndrome.” She says that after nine months of use of alternative products she suffered less menstrual discomfort and symptoms of PMS. “This made me passionate about educating women about the effects of toxic products on the body, and about making healthier choices. “There is a movement
of women who are open to healthier alternatives, who are becoming more conscious of what their bodies are coming into contact with; be
it food, skin care, cleaning products and now, at long last, sanitary products.”