Enough of being kept in the dark about what goes in our sanitary products, says Natracare’s Lauren Tookey.
Do you know what goes into your tampons and sanitary pads? Chances are, if you use a conventional brand, you won’t. And that’s not because you haven’t ever thought to check (to be fair, it’s not the first thing on a woman’s mind when dealing with the monthly cramp-fest), it’s because manufacturers aren’t legally required to list every ingredient. This means they can get away with putting all sorts of rubbish in their products.
Conventional tampons, for example, are made up of mostly chlorine-bleached rayon, a highly absorbent substance derived from wood. Rayon is so effective at absorbing it can absorb protective mucus from the vaginal walls in addition to menstrual blood.
Unlike cotton, rayon fibres are short and straight and can easily shed from the tampon, meaning fibres get left inside the body; gynaecologists have reported having to clean away these deposited fibres before being able to collect smear samples.
Even cotton products aren’t necessarily the ‘natural’ solution you might expect. Cotton is the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crop, so there could be traces of chemicals such as glyphosate (regarded as highly toxic). What makes life more difficult are misleading marketing messages such as labels claiming “cotton-like” or “cotton-feel”, which are often just a con: they do not contain cotton at all.
Thankfully, word is starting to get out about some of the health and environment issues surrounding period products. The taboo surrounding periods is on the way out, thanks to the broad coverage that it has received in the press regarding the archaic and frankly ridiculous notion that tampons are a luxury product, as well as through other mediums such as petitions calling for ingredient transparency from major sanitary product companies and full disclosure of what’s going into their pads and tampons.
This is wonderfully demonstrated via the mediums of song and dance and tongue-in-cheek in Women’s Voices for the Earth’s video.
During the late 1980s, the outrage that was initially voiced by women’s groups regarding the manufacture and marketing of feminine hygiene products, its effect on the environment and the implications for women’s health, resonated with Susie Hewson, the founder of Natracare organic and natural feminine hygiene.
“Back in 1989, I saw a documentary about the growing danger to human health and the environment of dioxin pollution from pulping industries with the chlorine bleaching of paper products,” says Hewson.
“What made me especially angry was the unconcerned response of the international feminine hygiene brands. I was so appalled that my immediate response was to research and develop an alternative that respected women’s bodies and our planet.
“Natracare was the world’s first alternative to conventionally produced feminine hygiene, including the world’s first certified organic cotton tampons and totally chlorine-free sanitary pads and panty liners.”
Hewson, founder of feminine hygiene brand Natracare and winner of the Women in Ethical Business Award 2008 and First Woman of Manufacturing 2014, has always been a fierce activist for the environment. She is proud that Natracare began not as a brand but a campaign – a reaction to the lack of choice for women for sanitary protection that wasn’t hazy on the ingredient list.
Natracare stands for more than just organic and natural products. It is an award-winning, ethical company committed to offering organic and natural solutions for personal health care that leaves a soft footprint on the earth. No green-washing, just truth in labelling and a trustworthy, high functioning product range.3794 Views
Natracare organic and natural personal care, designed with women's health and the environment in mind.