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As we busy ourselves with life, it is all too easy to pluck of the shelf the sanitary products that are colorful and eye catching, or maybe they are on special, and not give too much thought to it. With health being paramount on everyone’s mind, maybe it’s time to have a good look at whether it matters if your female hygiene products are ORGANIC OR NOT! These products are used in the most vulnerable area of the female anatomy, so for the sake of yourself, your daughters and your grand daughters, please read the following so as you can make an informed decision as a consumer……

According to Dr Mercola, (May, 2013) each sanitary pad can contain up to 4 plastic bags. Knowing today what we know about plastics is a real cause for alarm. The plastics can include

BPA/BPS – these disrupt embryonic development and are linked to heart disease and cancers.

Phthalates – gives tampon applicators a nice, smooth surface – they disregulate gene expression

DEHP – may lead to multiple organ damage.

Odour neutralizers and fragrances – Tampons and pads made with odour neutralizers and other artificial fragrances are nothing short of a chemical soup laced with artificial colors, polyesters, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene, and propylene glycol (PEG), collectively these contaminants have been linked to hormone disruption, cancer1, birth defects2, skin dryness and irritation3, and infertility4. (Label Lessons, Andrea Donsky)

This is troubling as the vaginal wall is greatly permeable therefore allowing toxins direct entry into the bloodstream no matter what the origin….

All these plastics can restrict airflow, increasing dampness and trapping heat, which leads to the promotion of yeast and bacterial growth in the vaginal area.

Commercial tampons are made from a synthetic rayon/cotton blend. This makes them cheap to produce and increases their absorbency capacity making it an ideal choice for manufacturers.

Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world. Grown on 2.4% of the worlds land it demands as much as $2billion worth of pesticides per annum. The most common pesticide is glyphosphates. The main ingredient found in ‘Round Up.’ WHO (World Health Organisation), has classified glyphosphates as ‘probably carcinogenic’, despite reports from The Lancet Journal of Oncology stating that ‘probably carcinogenic’ is the second highest classification just below ‘known carcinogen.

A wide assessment of case controlled studies conducted in US, Canada and Sweden shown exposure to this chemical increased risks for cancers such as non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, haemangiosarcoma (a cancer commonly found in dogs), pancreatic cancer along with increased DNA damage, oxidative stress and cell damage. (Guyton, K et al, 2015)

Along with this, non organic brands also regularly use GMO cotton.

Sanitary pads are made up of up to 90% crude oil plastic with the remaining, chlorine bleached wood pulp. Using these brands of pads we are contributing the equivalent of 180 billion plastic bags to our waste scheme. (Donsky et al 2013)

To receive nice, crisp, clean white pads and tampons – first the materials must be bleached. The most commonly used bleach is chlorine. A nasty by product of this process is a compound called dioxin. Dioxin has been shown to collect in fatty tissues and the US EPA has stated there are ‘no safe levels of exposure’. In 1998, EPA released their Pulp and Paper Cluster ruling – forcing manufacturers to switch to an elemental chlorine free process. This process significantly cut down the levels of dioxins but does not eliminate them completely.

Low to trace levels of exposure may be linked to:

  • Abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs
  • Abnormal cell growth throughout the body
  • Immune system suppression
  • Hormonal and endocrine system disruption
  • Symptoms to watch out for are according to Dr. Mercola:
  • Another cause for concern is education and teaching our girls how to properly manage their menstrual hygiene. Leaving a tampon in too long long and using super absorbent tampons can lead to infections including the life threatening toxic shock syndrome (TSS). According to Adam Ross (2017), TSS is commonly caused by a toxic strain of staphylococcus aureus or strep A and is most commonly seen in menstruating women using super absorbent tampons.
  • This is contrast to the FDA’s stance of there ‘are no expected health risks’……
Sudden high fever Vomiting Diarrhea
Low blood pressure Seizures Rash on palms or soles of feet
Muscle aches Redness of your eyes, mouth and/or throat

To minimise your risks according to Dr. Mercola:


Avoid super absorbent tampons – choose the lowest absorbency rate to handle your flow Never leave a tampon inserted overnight; use overnight pads instead When inserting a tampon, be extremely careful not to scratch your vaginal lining (avoid plastic applicators)
Alternate the use of tampons with sanitary napkins or mini-pads during your period Change tampons at least every 4-6 hours Do not use a tampon between periods

Organic sanitary wear such as the brand Natracare are a much safer option for our bodies.

Natracare Tampons:

  • Tampon is 100% certified organic
  • Cotton string 100% certified organic cotton
  • Applicator tampons are wrapped in chlorine free paper
  • Packaging is made from recycled cardboard
  • Suitable for Vegans

Natracare Pads:

  • Pads/Liners 100% certified organic cotton cover
  • Hydrogen Peroxide bleach therefore totally dioxin free
  • Absorbent Core – chlorine free wood pulp
  • Wood is sourced from ecologically managed forests.

I am not endorsed by Natracare nor am I making money from them but have used this brand to merely form a comparison.

Hopefully you have found this article insightful and it will help you make healthier choices next time you find yourself I the female hygiene aisle of your supermarket.

Guyton, K et al, 2015, Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate, The Lancet Oncology, Vol 16, no.5, pp490-491

Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients, May 22nd, 2013

1Chemical soup, cancer:

2Chemical soup, birth defects:

3Chemical soup, skin irritation:

4Chemical soup, Infertility:

Donsky, A et al 2013, Label Lessons, Your Guide to a Healthy Shopping Cart, pp 22-25.

Ross, A, Schoff, H,2017, Toxic Shock Syndrome, Pubmed viewed 30th January 2018