When embarking on this journey to cut out harmful chemicals in my life, I never thought I would get to this point. Yet here I am. Talking about periods and why the products you use during this time matter. So let’s talk about why I’ll never go back mainstream products. This might just change your life like it changed mine. OK maybe it’s not life-changing, but if there’s a chance you can get rid of some ingredients that are interfering with your hormones and carcinogenic just by switching out one product, won’t it be worth it? Oh and probably save you some money too. Win win.
We like to think products that make it to the store shelves are safe. They wouldn’t sell them if they weren’t safe, right? WRONG. I thought this too, until I started researching and digging. The regulations on products, not just tampons, are so loose. Ingredients slip through the cracks and companies can claim the ingredients are ‘trade secrets’ which means they legally don’t have to disclose what ingredients are in their products. I highly recommend watching the Stink! documentary to learn more about this.
So what exactly is in a tampon?
According to an independent-study done by WVE, they discovered numerous undisclosed toxic chemicals in tampons, including organic, mainstream, and dollar store brands. One of the ingredients they discovered was carbon disulfide, which is a known reproductive toxin. Some of the brands tested also contained toulene, xylene, and methylene chloride (a known carcinogen). The scariest part is that none of these chemicals were disclosed by the manufacturer. This article also goes on to state that the FDA has little regulation on these products because they are considered ‘medical devices’ so they don’t have to contain ingredient labels. I’m sorry but if this product is going inside my body and contains something other than organic cotton, it better be listed on the box.
Other studies done in the past have found that some of these feminine products, including pads, contained pesticide residue, parabens, phthalates (hormone disruptors), triclosan, and other carcinogens including chloroform and styrene. SAY WHAT?! Ever wonder why pads and tampons are super white? Chlorine bleach. This can lead to the creation of the chemical dioxin which has been linked to:
– Abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs
– Abnormal cell growth throughout the body
– Immune system suppression
– Hormonal and endocrine system disruption
It’s easy to think that it’s just a little bit. A little bit over a long period of time adds up quickly. The average American woman uses 16.800 tampons in her life. It’s no wonder there are so many people suffering from hormonal imbalances, infertility, have difficulty conceiving, let alone all of the other health conditions that can be linked back to these harmful chemicals.
I initially made the switch from the mainstream brand of tampons I was using to 100% organic cotton tampons (Cora brand, I believe). Definitely not a bad alternative. But then I thought about all the money I was spending and all the waste it creates. Part of my mission this year was to become less wasteful and slowly but surely I’m getting there. If you really want to put this into perspective, check out this waste calculator to see how much waste you’re creating and how much you can save by ditching the disposable period products.
I eventually decided to take the plunge into the ‘cup’. Let me start off by saying it is real weird at first. I was literally watching YouTube videos to figure out how to use the dang thing. That’s a funny story but I’ll spare you the details for now. Now that I’ve figured it out and am more comfortable using it, I will never go back to using anything else. The one I ended up getting was by SaaltCo but there are so many good brands out there.
As always, do your own research and decide what is best for you and your body. I share my experiences for those looking for cleaner alternatives. Don’t be afraid to question the products you are using. You don’t have to trust them just because they are on the store shelves. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your health.