You've read the title of this article, so let's skip the trite, cutesy reference to Aunt Flow. The cold, hard facts are these: a woman uses approximately 16,800 sanitary pads or tampons in her lifetime, and there are about 150 million women in the US alone. We're not just talking about landfill waste here, either. Just because tampon companies say their applicators are flushable doesn't stop sewers from washing them back onto a shore or stream. Tampons and pads are also made from rayon blended with pesticide-heavy cotton. And while such companies as Tampax insist they test their products to ensure they don't contain detectable levels of pesticides, the cotton is still grown with toxic herbicides and fungicides.
Periods may be terrible for womankind the world over, but that doesn't mean they have to be terrible for the environment too. Here are some things you should look for when purchasing tampons and pads.
- Look for a USDA Organic seal or a “100% Organic” label to ensure that the feminine hygiene product you purchase uses all organic materials. These labels will also guarantee that no harmful pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetic engineering were used in the production process.
- Look for third-party verification that the products you choose are made by companies that do not employ animal testing. Verification may come in the form of a cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny logo or a Certified Vegan logo.
- Look for Organic Essentials pads and tampons. They're made from 100 percent certified organically-grown cotton and contain no synthetic chemicals, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or harmful bleaches. Organic Essentials products are available through natural food stores, drug stores, and some catalog companies. Or, they can be reached directly at (806) 428-3486.
- Look for Seventh Generation feminine care products. They're Leaping Bunny certified and while their pads and liners contain a non-organic absorbent gel derived from wheat, their tampons are made of 100 percent organic cotton and are applicator free. Seventh Generation feminine care products are also free of irritating dyes, fragrances, chlorine, and rayon. Find their products at SeventhGenerationStore.com.
- Look for Natracare products. They use a biodegradable plant-based bioplastic in place of petroleum plastic as a barrier layer to keep their certified organic and natural pads from leaking. In addition, all of Natracare's materials are sourced from ecologically sound producers. And their tampons contain 100 percent certified organic cotton and are chlorine bleach- and rayon-free. Find Natracare feminine hygiene products at Drugstore.com.