We have been learning about the woman’s menstruation cycle. This subject is often not discussed because of its connection to sexuality (omg!). However, menstruation is a natural, beautiful cycle that ALL women experience at some point in their lives. Menstruation should be a subject of empowerment and pride, not shame. This biological cycle connects all women. It is the function that allows women to make tiny humans! – How AMAZING.
Yet, through the media, menstruation is projected as something to be controlled. It is painful, unwanted, and shameful, and all women must protect themselves against it effects. Therefore, the media markets toxic tampons (Read Tampax Tampons: Toxic Death Sticks by Meghan Telpner) as a “solution.” Now, have you every thought about how tampons, a product that many women use multiple times every month, could be bad for a woman? Starting with its construction, tampons are made out of cotton, rayon, chlorinated bleach, viscose, polyester, and perfume. The cotton is mostly likely sprayed with chemicals and pesticides during production. The rayon comes from wood pulp for greater absorbency. Yet, in the process of bleaching this wood, DIOXIN is produced. Dioxin is the most toxic chemical produced by man. Period. Why do we think that putting it into the most absorbent area of a woman’s body is a good idea?? In addition, the fragrances’ chemical composition is not regulated, meaning we do not know what else might be in those scented tampons…
Furthermore, tampons absorb not only menstruation fluids, but also the good fluids that keep your vagina healthy. Without these good fluids, tiny cracks form, like dry desert soil. And as one pulls the tampon out of the vagina,
tiny toxic fibers get left behind, which can cause long-term effects. In fact, dioxin is bioaccumulative, meaning the chemical accumulates in an organism. This has a negative impact on, for instance, breastfeeding children. In addition, the bleaching of the tampons is extraneous since the tampons themselves are not regulated, and thus can be touched by anyone and anything during its travels to your vagina.
On a broader scale, the waste that is generated by using a box of tampons is out of control. You got a cardboard box, little cardboard boxes to hold different sizes of tampons (not to mention the thick paper instructions that is tucked away on the inside since, of course, no one wants to the face the reality of how a vagina looks or how a tampon works), the plastic cover, and a plastic applicator, and eventually the tampon itself. A single woman will use THOUSANDS of tampons throughout her life, and all that waste is clogging up landfills. Not to mention the people in the factories making tampons and those living down stream from the factories who are subjected to the toxins and waste that is produce during the production of tampons.
SO, the big question: Why do we deem tampons so essential?? And, what are safer, environmentally friendly alternatives to tampons? Well, for starters, tampons are a product of convenience for the average menstruating woman. This idea of convenience is culturally based, and totally unsustainable. However, women must shift from being ashamed and disgruntled pertaining to their menstruation cycle. Thinking about the bigger picture, and thinking out of the [tampon] box is essential to make changes. There are so many opportunities for women to live healthier, positive lifestyles – all that is needed are informed choices. As an example, I just got the DivaCup!! The DivaCup is made out of medical grade silica – vagina safe! It will last me a long time, and as a result I will save a lot of money that I would have been constantly spending on tampons. I am taking care of my body and my environment! Other alternatives include cloth pads, sea sponges, the keeper, moon cup, Seventh Generation and NatraCare products (do not use the chlorine bleaching process!).
There is a different way of thinking about menstruation. It is interesting and completely normal. Embrace it.