By Chitra Mukherjee:
Sanitary napkins are a veritable soup of toxic ingredients. Do you really want to be in such close proximity to them?
About 12% of India’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins every month. Assuming that there is an average usage of 12 napkins per month, this adds up to 432 million solid pads, weighing 9,000 megatons, enough to cover a landfill of 24 hectares (32 football fields).
Can you imagine the amount of waste that you and I, as women, generate? This is really huge!
Take a moment and think of the mind-boggling waste created by us and the subsequent environmental impact it has due to all of the plastic and chlorine-bleached wood pulp in these napkins. These would not mix into the soil anytime soon and instead will hang around for at least 800 years, polluting our land, air, oceans and ultimately enter our food chain.
What really worries me is the fact that the napkins which I use without a single thought for five days in a month and each woman will use for at least 35 years of her reproductive life, are made up of dangerous toxic chemicals like dioxins, synthetic fibres and petrochemical additives. Our skin comes intimately in contact with these. The chemicals then land into our bloodstream and circulate inside our whole body!
BPA and BPS in plastics are linked to heart disease and cancer. Also with this, the synthetics and plastics that are used, restrict air flow and trap heat and dampness promoting yeast and bacteria growth in the vaginal area. Odour neutralizers and fragrances in your seemingly innocent branded napkins are also potentially very hazardous to your health. Each plastic napkin is the equivalent of 4 plastic bags. That equals to 50 plastic bags a month and 21,000 plastic bags in 35 years! Think of the thousands of toxins that are going into you in your lifetime. And we call these products hygienic?
So now ladies, what can we do so we are not the guinea pigs of the manufacturers of these top end products that claim to give us “happy “periods?
We can wake up and say no to plastic.
Let’s explore the array of sustainable, safe options available to the smart women today. There are menstrual cups and cloth pads which are far far better choices. Of course, they require a possible learning curve and putting aside of prejudices but as women of the 21st century, when has all that posed a challenge?
Looking at the rise in the prices for sanitary pads, they may end up becoming even more expensive in the future, whereas environmentally-friendly versions are often also cheaper alternatives in the long run. Along with the price value, they are healthier, greener and leak proof. Fantastic, isn’t it?
Another great choice which is a personal favourite is the menstrual cup. It is reusable, made of medical grade inert material like silicon which does not react with your body, can be used for eight years and is leak proof. The costs will range from ₹700-₹3,000 in 10 years. You can wear it even while swimming or playing sports. It saves you money and lets the environment breathe a little easier by creating less waste to dump.
I am just having a Eureka moment! Are you?