Menstrual Products: Safe or Profitable?

Holy Hormones Journal:1962-Kotex-Feminine-Sanitary-Napkins-Magazine-Ad What is in those sanitary napkins or those tampons that we place outside or inside our vaginas once a month. Do we even think about it? I was just made aware by a colleague from Australia – that industrial glue is what holds all those synthetic layers together so that the pad will be absorbent. I was also told that the toxins from these glues actually may be a cause for all the of the ‘gynecological’ cancers that have sprung up in the last decade.

And then there are the toxins associated with tampon use.

So another Faustian foible marketed to women – and we believed in the marketing and the message. use our product and you will be clean and fragrant. Ride off in white pants on a white horse with your knight in shining armor – right?

Well, the knight in shining armor is the fem care manufacturer who will desert you somewhere and ride
off to the bank.

This smacks of the HRT travesty when the first independent study on  hormone replacement therapy (30 years after HRT had been on the market, I might add) was suddenly halted because the risks outweighed the benefits.

How many years have femcare products been on the market? Are we ready to find out if they are safe – or the culprit behind many of our gynecological health issues.

Novel Idea: What If We Actually Researched Whether Menstrual Products Are Safe to Use

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Think about your favorite — or not so favorite — menstrual hygiene product commercial. Usually some racially ambiguous person who presumably menstruates floats across the screen in a lily white dress, enjoying their life until “Mother Nature” ruins everything. The protagonist loses all hope in ever smiling again now that their period has arrived. Luckily, some Playtex™, Kotex™, Always™, or Stayfree™ product saves the day with a promise of “incredible protection and all-around comfort.” Oh yeah!

TamponsWasteBin

via Diva Cup

Menstruation products are a big deal with respect to the U.S economy, with over $2 million spent on menstrual hygiene products every year. The average person who menstruates uses about 300 to 420 tampons and/or pads a year, spending anywhere between $100 and $225 solely on their period. That’s a lot of money and a lot of hygiene merchandise! However, the welfare of people who menstruate has proven less important to the companies who profit from these goods and to the government given that little research has been done to determine how safe menstruation products really are. Even though so many people in the United States use menstrual hygiene products, the businesses profiting from this population does very little to inform menstruating consumers about what they are putting into their bodies.

At the end of May, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced a new version of proposed legislation that would require further research into the health effects of menstrual hygiene products. The bill, named The Robin Danielson Act of 2014, “would require the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research whether menstrual hygiene products that contain dioxin, synthetic fibers, and other chemical additives like chlorine and fragrances, pose health risks,” according to a press release issued by Maloney’s campaign. The Robin Danielson Act would also demand that the FDA publicly disclose the list of contaminants in menstrual hygiene products. This latter portion of the legislation is really important because many of these companies that sell menstruation products keep the public unaware of the chemicals used in the bleaching and fragrances of pads and tampons.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.