At any given moment, based on population and length of cycle, we could assume that over 250 million girls and women have their periods at any given time. We will dispose of thousands of one time use products over our lifetime of having our periods. It is a conversation that doesn’t always happen openly and being that we are a household of all girls and one patient Dad, I felt a science experiment was in order on the topic!
I should probably start by saying we have wide ranging allergies in our home. Everything from chlorine, to cleaning products, food, pesticides, to hygiene products. Plastics can be an issue. Fragrances. Our daily life is a combination of weighing in our minds the contents of a product, cost and time to find an alternative and what the reaction to said item will be. It’s second nature here, but it often complicates the unexpected.
That said, as a Mom of 3 girls, I knew this topic of feminine products would be inevitable at some point. So what better way to proactively find out what’s in them than to get out paper and pens, some purple food coloring, measuring devices and a large array of medical devices (yes, pads and tampons are considered medical devices by the FDA)….interesting.
Manufacturers are not required to disclose the materials and chemicals used in their products. If they want to, they can. If not, we get to wonder. What we do know is there are petroleum and synthetic products used in all conventional hygiene products in addition to many other unknown chemicals. Chlorine is used in many cases and it remains in the product. We thought this was super unsettling since we place them near or in one of our body’s most sensitive areas for days on end for about half of our lives. Something to consider.
Finding organic products is tricky at best. Stores have 50′ of choices, 4 shelves high and not a single organic option. The Honest Company brand we used for the pads I ordered online here. The Natracare tampons I found at our local health food store. Seventh Generation has products as well, but for our purposes, we went with the most natural ones we could find without fragrance and made entirely of 100% organic cotton.
Scroll down to see our findings:
We were surprised to find that the regular organic pads held out the same amount of liquid than the synthetic ones, but the supers of the synthetic held much more. The feeling of the pads once saturated, was interesting. The synthetic ones were slippery and squishy. The organic ones were just wet. We moved on to opening each one to see what was inside, including taking apart a tampon to see how the string is secured (that string is NOT coming off of there, that much is certain!).
So, here’s were we landed. If we were to use disposable products, it only made sense to use organic cotton, certainly for tampons. They are more expensive but as a parent, I am willing to give up other things to pay more for the products for ourselves, and also for the environment.
For our girls, I found these INCREDIBLE, super absorbent handmade (and ADORABLE) washable pads on Etsy. We have tried 2 different makers of organic bamboo velour pads and they are SUPER absorbent and wash up with no staining. There is not much to it. For the cost of them, I figure in less than one year they pay for themselves and they will be usable for years to come!! Have I mentioned how extremely CUTE they are!?
Spread the message far and wide. If you know a girl, share the love.
As girls, we have to stick together. Ask questions about what is going into our shampoos, lotions, makeup and of course your pads and tampons. It’s an important topic that I am hoping you can share with your girlfriends and friends with daughters of all ages. Share the link if it isn’t comfortable to talk about. It’s just that simple. Period.
P.S. Featured image (at the top pf the post) uterus plushie image compliments of i heart guts!