Not everyone has a daughter, but as women feminine hygiene products are a necessary way to manage that time of month. I spent years using them without even a thought to what they were made of. I never considered the possibility they could be harmful until Andrea Donsky from Naturally Savvy brought this issue to my attention.
Feminine Hygiene Products Have Undisclosed Ingredients
If you look at the side of the box of your typical tampon or menstrual pad, you’ll notice that there isn’t a list of ingredients. That’s because by law they don’t have to list them when they are categorized as “medical devices” by the FDA. When a product is considered a “medical device” they can basically put anything inside without disclosing. And the ingredients inside the products could have potential health consequences that you would never know about.
Why the Laws Surrounding Feminine Products Favor Companies, Not Consumers
Tampons and sanitary pads are considered medical devices because they are intended to affect the function of the body. That means your monthly menstrual cycle is looked at in a far more clinical sense and the rights we normally have are no longer relevant. So in turn, categorizing something as a “medical device” protects companies, not consumers. Do you have a right to know what you are putting on or inside your body every month? Do you have a right to know whether the ingredients inside those products are linked to cancer, hormonal imbalances, allergies or other diseases? Well, according to the FDA, no. Proprietary ingredients and formulas are legally protected and do not have to be disclosed by companies when they are “medical devices.” Thus, the legal rights of these products trumps your legal rights as a consumer and parent.
What Do We Know About Conventional Feminine Products?
Here are some interesting facts about conventional pads and tampons from Naturally Savvy :
- They are bleached using chlorine dioxide and during the process it releases dioxine – a known carcinogen.
- Cotton (the main component of many sanitary products) is sprayed with more pesticides than any other crop. In fact, if they were a fruit or vegetable, they would make the top of the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list.
- Odor neutralizers contain artificial colors, polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene, and propylene glycol (PEG), which are linked to hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects, dryness, and infertility.
- Most pads contain latex, which is a common allergen.
- Approximately 90% of pads are made of crude oil plastic and the rest use chlorine-bleached wood pulp.
- Most tampons are made from genetically modified cotton sprayed heavily with glysophate.
Sanitary pads and tampons include a range of ingredients from organic to chemical. Although it is helpful that the FDA continues to categorize both tampons and sanitary pads as medical devices so they can regulate their safety, consumers still need full disclosure labeling to protect themselves as well.
Actions YOU Can Take
Andrea Donsky, Creator of Naturally Savvy, did an expose comparing conventional menstrual pads to organic menstrual pads by burning them and the results were shocking. She created a petition that we have been supporting online for some time now.
Please sign this petition telling Procter & Gamble to label the ingredients on their feminine products and share it with your friends on Facebook. Together we can make a difference.