Leave to women to develop a sustainable healthy organic fem care products while reaching back to help other women. I think we are at the tip of the iceberg in beginning to understand how the chemically contaminated national brands have affected our mental and emotional health. Think about it. Most women place well-known brand – Tampax or Kotex for example into their vaginas or close to the labia during the menstrual phase when immunity is at its lowest. Is this a reason for the escalating rates of gynecological cancers and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) – which has been linked to inflammation of the cervix?
I think that it is time that we really think about what we are doing to our bodies… from synthetic contraception to chemical laden fem care products.
How Will Women Manage Their Periods In The Future?
23 Apr 2016 7:25 AM
When it comes to food, we like to know exactly what’s going in our gobs. We might not order those eggs if there’s a whiff they’ve come from cages, and a lot of people these days will pay the price to buy responsibly-fished tuna. And yet, somehow, that mindset doesn’t appear to apply to the period products we put in our vaginas month after month.
“People are so conscious of what they’re eating or even of what they’re wearing, but we’re putting stuff inside of us when we have no idea what’s in it,” says Olivia Sealy, spokesperson for Veeda, one of just a few companies offering affordable and completely natural menstrual products here in the UK. “We’re really trying to push natural products because they’re better for you.”
In a country where we fought so forcefully – and successfully – for the abolishment of the tampon tax, you’d think we’d be more tuned into what actually goes into making those little cylinders. But although the debate around the safety of commercial tampons has been bubbling for years, it’s only properly scratched the surface of the internet – and thus our consciousness – more recently.
Major manufacturers are not required to list the materials and chemicals that go into their tampons and pads, owing to their status as medical apparatus. And studies have shown that those unlisted ingredients can include dioxins, carcinogens, and reproductive toxins. Crucially, Dr Philip Tierno – the leading expert on Toxic Shock Syndrome – has never linked the bacteria associated with TSS to cotton tampons, only rayon ones.
But is it really a big deal? Well, nobody is 100% sure. Vaginal tissue is one of the most porous parts of the female body, which means any dioxins are absorbed easily and can build up in the body over time. And given that the average woman who uses tampons will use somewhere in the region of 11,000 in her life, and spend close to 100,000 hours with a wad of potentially harmful cotton and rayon inside her, it’s important we pay attention to what it is we’re putting up there.
Based in LA, Conscious Period (co-founded by Lascoe and Margo Lang) is one of several newly-launched US start ups (see Lola and Cora for more) offering consumers a totally natural alternative to the major players. Cora’s sustainable, biodegradable products are made from 100% organic, hypoallergenic cotton and are free of chemicals, synthetics and dyes.
“Our target market are savvy consumers, but until shockingly recently nobody thought for a second about what’s in their tampons,” Annie Lascoe from Conscious Period tells me. “We’re really excited that people are starting to think about it, but there is still a big education curve.”
It’s this combined health, eco and social purpose that typifies the new approach to menstrual management.