Saving the World, One Tampon at a Time | Teen Ink

Saving the World, One Tampon at a Time

November 20, 2008
By Anonymous

I see so many girls in t-shirts with mantras like "Save the Earth" and "Go Green" and various other eco-friendly messages, but I would bet that most of the people wearing them aren't doing all they can to help the enviorment. There is a cheap, easy, and healthy way for women to go green that you probably haven't thought of before.

In her lifetime, a woman will go through approximately 16,800 sanitary napkins (pads) or tampons. Every year, over 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons are thrown into landfills. Deforestation, soil erosion, toxic waste, and even problems with marine life occur due to tampons and pads. There are multiple alternatives that are ultimately better than generic pads or tampons.

Before you dump out your sanitary products, you should know the facts. There is a downside to the enviormentally friendly organic tampons; they are more expensive than regular ones. However, using cloth pads or the cup will save you over 300 dollars a year, and prevent side effects like yeast infections and ulcerations of the vaginal walls. Cloth pads are washable and more comfortable. Disposable pads are made with plastic and create a breeding ground for infection. The cup is a silicone container that works much like a tampon, but has no risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome, can stay in for 12 hours, and does not leak. For those who prefer tampons, organic is the way to go.

Have you ever thought about what goes into the tampons you use? Pesticides, abrasive fabrics, chlorine bleach, and they all result in harmful side effects for you and the enviorment! Women take in twice their body in toxic chemicals throughout their lifetime, 3 times as many as men! Why haven't you heard this before? Companies test their own products, so they can manipulate the results.

Although regular tampons are made up of cotton, they are also made with rayon, a artificial fabric made with sulphic acids and caustic soda. You might buy only cotton tampons, thinking it is pure. Unfortunately, over 35 herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides are used in the growth of cotton that leave residue in your body. Unless it is an organic cotton tampon, it has toxic chemicals that will have lasting effects on you. Speaking of chemicals, how do they get them that snowy white color? Years ago companies stopped using chlorine gas to bleach tampons, because it produced a chemical known as dioxin, a carcinogenic compound. Now, they use a process that allegedly doesn't create dixoin. However, a test conducted in 2005 by the Federal Drug Administration found "detectable levels of dioxin in seven brands of tampons", even a 100% cotton brand. You're better off avoiding the bleaching process completely.
If you're looking to do your body and more importantly, your world a favor, make the switch to organic tampons, and give an alternative method like cloth pads and cups a chance.

The author's comments:
This appeared first in my school's newspaper.

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