Monday, September 6, 2010

Cloth Pads

In recent years, more people are turning back to cloth nappies in a bid to save money and reduce their environmental foot print. And some mums on considering these options for their children, start to contemplate the use of their own disposable menstrual products and it’s environmental impact. After all a child is only in nappies for roughly 3 years, whereas a woman may menstruate for 35 years.

Approximately 20 billion pads and tampons are discarded each year in North America alone. That has a massive environmental impact when you apply it to multiple countries. It’s also estimated a woman may use 11,000 tampons in her lifetime . So let’s assume there are approximately 3.5 million women in the world (currently WHO says there are 1.07 women to every man) . That means 37,997,784,000 tampons / pads are used in their lifetimes.

Obviously this isn’t a realistic figure as there are women who use cloth, have gone through menopause, are pregnant, too young or too old. But still that figure is staggering. In one household with 3 women alone, they will use 33,000 menstrual products in their lifetime.

But there is another key reason to use cloth pads or cups such Lunette cup, and that is exposing your nether regions to a cocktail of chemicals. Using disposable pads / tampons can expose you to dioxin and the cotton used to make these products has been sprayed with insecticides. Dioxin is part of the bleaching process and has been linked to cancer, endometriosis, immune system suppression, heart and liver disease and hormonal disruption.

Scary thought if you are putting it month by month on your girlie bits.

Conventional cotton is the most pesticide sprayed crop in the world. Pesticides are endocrine disruptors and your ovaries are part of the endocrine system. 

So what to do?? There are so many different options in cloth pads and menstrual cups. The most well known menstrual cup is the Diva Cup with the Lunette Cup following not far behind . Both are easy to use once you get the hang of them. Cloth pads are just like using a cloth nappy. They do need soaking the same as cloth nappies. There are so many different kinds out there and which you prefer will be an individual choice. Again much like cloth nappies.

I’ve been using a lunette cup and cloth pads since my period returned when I stopped breastfeeding Little B. They are so easy to use. I soak the pads in a bucket of cold water, and then throw them into the wash. They dry really quickly. I started off buying a few different kinds to see which ones I preferred and then bought the rest when I settled on my choice. The change was easy, painless and I felt better reducing my environmental impact.

But if you’re not up to making a change to cloth, then at least use organic products such as Jolie Tampons  or Natracare to reduce the impact on your girlie bits.

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