Thursday, February 29, 2024
 - 
Afrikaans
 - 
af
Albanian
 - 
sq
Amharic
 - 
am
Arabic
 - 
ar
Armenian
 - 
hy
Azerbaijani
 - 
az
Basque
 - 
eu
Belarusian
 - 
be
Bengali
 - 
bn
Bosnian
 - 
bs
Bulgarian
 - 
bg
Catalan
 - 
ca
Cebuano
 - 
ceb
Chichewa
 - 
ny
Chinese (Simplified)
 - 
zh-CN
Chinese (Traditional)
 - 
zh-TW
Corsican
 - 
co
Croatian
 - 
hr
Czech
 - 
cs
Danish
 - 
da
Dutch
 - 
nl
English
 - 
en
Esperanto
 - 
eo
Estonian
 - 
et
Filipino
 - 
tl
Finnish
 - 
fi
French
 - 
fr
Frisian
 - 
fy
Galician
 - 
gl
Georgian
 - 
ka
German
 - 
de
Greek
 - 
el
Gujarati
 - 
gu
Haitian Creole
 - 
ht
Hausa
 - 
ha
Hawaiian
 - 
haw
Hebrew
 - 
iw
Hindi
 - 
hi
Hmong
 - 
hmn
Hungarian
 - 
hu
Icelandic
 - 
is
Igbo
 - 
ig
Indonesian
 - 
id
Irish
 - 
ga
Italian
 - 
it
Japanese
 - 
ja
Javanese
 - 
jw
Kannada
 - 
kn
Kazakh
 - 
kk
Khmer
 - 
km
Korean
 - 
ko
Kurdish (Kurmanji)
 - 
ku
Kyrgyz
 - 
ky
Lao
 - 
lo
Latin
 - 
la
Latvian
 - 
lv
Lithuanian
 - 
lt
Luxembourgish
 - 
lb
Macedonian
 - 
mk
Malagasy
 - 
mg
Malay
 - 
ms
Malayalam
 - 
ml
Maltese
 - 
mt
Maori
 - 
mi
Marathi
 - 
mr
Mongolian
 - 
mn
Myanmar (Burmese)
 - 
my
Nepali
 - 
ne
Norwegian
 - 
no
Pashto
 - 
ps
Persian
 - 
fa
Polish
 - 
pl
Portuguese
 - 
pt
Punjabi
 - 
pa
Romanian
 - 
ro
Russian
 - 
ru
Samoan
 - 
sm
Scots Gaelic
 - 
gd
Serbian
 - 
sr
Sesotho
 - 
st
Shona
 - 
sn
Sindhi
 - 
sd
Sinhala
 - 
si
Slovak
 - 
sk
Slovenian
 - 
sl
Somali
 - 
so
Spanish
 - 
es
Sundanese
 - 
su
Swahili
 - 
sw
Swedish
 - 
sv
Tajik
 - 
tg
Tamil
 - 
ta
Telugu
 - 
te
Thai
 - 
th
Turkish
 - 
tr
Ukrainian
 - 
uk
Urdu
 - 
ur
Uzbek
 - 
uz
Vietnamese
 - 
vi
Welsh
 - 
cy
Xhosa
 - 
xh
Yiddish
 - 
yi
Yoruba
 - 
yo
Zulu
 - 
zu
Subscriber Login

Female hygiene products go “green”

by Admin
0 comment

We are a society, which craves quick fixes, high convenience and low maintenance. With advances in technology, there are many products that are disposable and recyclable. However, with feminine hygiene products, reusing and recycling just don’t work. The data from the landfills across the world make it hard to ignore the reality of the extent of damage done by the in-discretionary dumping of non-biodegradable sanitary materials. In America alone, according to numbers published by the landfill agencies, an average woman throws away 15,000 sanitary pads and tampons in her lifetime, adding up to 250-300 pounds of waste. This number multiplied by the 85 million young women in North America adds up to billions. This amount of waste is staggering, even before factoring in the wrappings and packaging. In its 2006 world-wide clean-up, the non-profit Ocean Conservancy found almost 20,000 tampon applicators underwater and along shorelines, down from the 170,000 a decade ago.

Feminine hygiene products industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and companies in the past have been eager to rein in the profits without much thought to long term feminine health and safety. During the last two decades, many debates have arisen in this area, especially after the deaths due to the deadly toxic shock syndrome (TSS). The US Congress passed the Tampon Safety and Research Act of 1999. In the past, rayon and rayon-cotton blends, which are highly, absorbent were widely used to manufacture these products. These also contain dioxins, (by-products of the bleaching process) which are carcinogenic. Dioxins collect in the fatty tissues of animals, including humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed dioxins are possible human carcinogens that also put women at risk for “effects that could suppress the immune system, increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, reduce fertility, and interfere with fetal and childhood development.” Tampons also contain additives such as chlorine, absorbency enhancers, synthetic fibers, deodorant and fragrance that amplify toxin production associated with TSS, a highly fatal bacterial illness.

Such debates have spurred interest and research in identifying eco-friendly, safe alternatives using biodegradable materials for feminine hygiene products. Several companies specialise in these products for instance, US-based GladRags supplies the alternative sea sponges made from oceanic raw materials and can be used for approximately six months before being replaced and are 100% biodegradable. Several natural cleaners are recommended to prevent bacterial growth and odour. Another alternative – menstrual cups are manufactured using materials such as all-natural, soft-gum rubber and medical grade silicone for women suffering from latex allergies.

US based Natracare and Seventh Generation introduced organic cotton sanitary products, whitened with non-chlorine based chemicals, eliminating the production of chlorinated hydrocarbons, including dioxins. These are also free of rayon, dye, fragrance and chemical additives such as binders or surfactants. Certified organic cotton removes the risk of direct exposure to residues from chemical pesticides and fertilisers used on traditional cotton. An added bonus of using these products is that they come in packaging that is made from 100% recycled material that is biodegradable.

For most women, the most natural and popular option is the cloth pad as it is worn externally with greater comfort and fewer hygiene issues. Also available now is an alternate cloth pads made from natural materials like plant cellulose. These are not chlorine bleached and are free of rayon, plastics and other synthetic materials negatively impact the environment. GladRags make organic cotton pads that are un-dyed and unscented. These pads are reusable, machine-washable, and can last more than five years. For women who want the convenience of a disposable pad without chemicals or waste, Natracare developed pads that are chemical-free and made from natural materials. The moisture-barrier layer is made from BioPlastic™, a biodegradable material made from plant cellulose. The pads are free of rayon and plastic, tend to be less bulky than cloth pads, and have an adhesive strip like mass-marketed pads, but are biodegradable and even compostable.

In the past decade, the popularity of natural intimate care products has surged. Almost all wet and dry wipes available today are made from polypropylene (PP) or the closely related polyolefin, materials that are derived from petroleum. As an alternative, organic cotton natural wipes, enriched with natural organic oils like calendula and chamomile are available from Natracare. Other mass marketed wipes use skin irritating ingredients such as propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, and formaldehyde releasing preservatives such as imidazolidinyl urea, identified as a cosmetic preservative causing contact dermatitis, according to The American Academy of Dermatology. The organic wipes do not use these ingredients. US-based company Oceanus has developed a personal lubricant manufactured from the seaweed, know as carrageenan moss. The ingredient naturally derived from Irish moss, is used to make the lubricant which is water-based and silicone-free, making it non-irritating and safe for sensitive skin. With so much choice in the market and the supply chain so wide that nations like India and China with their huge populations can avail these products. Going green and using alternative biodegradable products were never more possible. Newer products may be higher priced than mass-marketed products but long-term savings the contribution to the environment are positive factors.

Uma Balasubramaniam

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Clean India Journal, which began its journey in 2005 with the sole vision of being the prime facilitator in creating a clean India, today reaches out to a vast cross-section of readers across borders.

Top Stories

Newsletter Subscribe

Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

Copyright © 2023 Clean India Journal All rights reserved.

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?

Subscribe For Download Our Media Kit

Get notified about new articles