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By Anahí Hormazábal Contreras *
This involves a lot of blood, so we need protection. For that we find in supermarkets and pharmacies "feminine protections". There are many brands of tampons, sanitary napkins and panty liners, as well as different models of these; so that we can find one that we like, "a product for every need", some companies use their slogan.
With wings, without wings, ultra-fine, mesh fabric, soft fabric, abundant flow, medium flow, little flow, nocturnal, aromatic, very beautiful colors and designs. Every month women stock up on the necessary amount of protections. A woman uses approximately 5 normal sanitary napkins a day, we then use a total of 25 sanitary napkins for a month, or 3 normal towels and 1 night towel adding 15 normal towels and 5 night towels a month.
If we have normal flow, then we use approximately 13,000 sanitary napkins throughout our lives. If each towel after use weighs 5 grams, we produce 65 kg of garbage per year only in sanitary napkins. In forty years it is 2,600 kg of garbage. In other words, every one hundred menstruating women in Chile we produce 6,500 kg of garbage a year.
In forty years we throw away 260 tons of highly polluting and non-degradable menstrual protection in our environment. Remember that a sanitary napkin takes not 100 years or 200 years to degrade but 500 years! The towel packages do not report on the substances and raw materials used to manufacture the dressings. In some, only cellulose, polyethylene (one of the most common plastics), silicone paper, cotton, polyester, polypropylene (non-woven plastic fabric), bleached paper pulp and flavorings are disclosed. On the Internet we can find more information about the toxic components used: dioxin, polyacrylate, rayon and asbestos.
It is a highly toxic unwanted component, its chemical production involves chlorine. The latter is used to bleach tampons, sanitary pads and panty liners. Dioxins that remain in bleached products are derived from this industrial process. Dioxins seriously affect the reproductive organs causing reproduction and development problems, it can cause fetal malformations, it affects the immune system and the rest of the tissues in our body.
It is a slow decomposition substance and can be stored in the body, its interference with our hormones causes dioxin to be classified as a carcinogenic substance. It is associated as one of the causes of endometriosis, a gynecological disease that consists of the uncontrolled growth of the endometrial tissues (mucous membranes that line the uterine walls), this disease can cause dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), pelvic pain and infertility. Experts point out that this compound is not easily eliminated, it can take five years to reduce by half, it does not degrade and therefore accumulates in tissues. A single dose of the deadliest dioxin can kill a rat.
It is a chemical compound. It is an odorless white powder that has the ability to absorb large amounts of liquid. This is used as the famous "absorbent gel". Studies show that it is associated with toxic shock syndrome (TSS) just like rayon. TSS is caused by a toxin produced by certain types of staph bacteria. The use of tampon, especially if it is left for a long time, can cause this disease. Symptoms are confusion, diarrhea, headaches, fever, hypotension (low blood pressure), muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, seizures, seizures and in the worst cases it can lead to failure in organs such as the kidneys and the liver.
It is a synthetic fabric. Man-made fibers are made from chemicals that are produced from materials such as oil, wood, and coal. This fiber is highly absorbent and is used to contain blood and vaginal fluids. It prevents the skin from breathing normally. In addition, it retains moisture, causing increased body perspiration, this can cause wounds in the vagina and an abnormal increase in bacterial flora that can lead to vaginal infections and urinary infections. When tampons are used, when they are removed from the vaginal cavity, fibers remain inside, tampon remains that can also cause the most diverse annoyances such as bad smell, infections, bleeding, TSS, among others.
Asbestos is a group of minerals that is used in roof tiles, tiles, slate sheets, tiles, cement, paper products, car clutches, brakes, containers, packages, coatings, paint, talcum, sanitary napkins and tampons. The United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Environmental Protection, and the International Bureau for Research on Cancer have shown that asbestos-related products cause cancer. The Ministry of Health in Chile prepared the "Manual for the Preparation of a Work Plan with Materials that Contain Friable and Non-Friable Asbestos" here they explain that the mineral can produce irreversible damage to health, this mineral has been classified as highly carcinogenic for the human being. On the other hand, there are studies that deny the use of asbestos in sanitary napkins and tampons, but there are also studies that corroborate its existence as a market strategy. Donna C. Booisseau, from the University of Illinois, indicates that: "The tampon industry includes asbestos in its products with the intention of making women bleed more during their menstrual period and thus favor the increase in consumption of this merchandise."
We are being attacked every month with toxins in our bodies that can cause us deadly diseases and we are also damaging our environment every time we use any of these products. The manufacturers of towels, panty liners and tampons together with governments manipulate us through propaganda that these products are the best option for when we are menstruating. Thus, they are in charge of ignoring the toxic components and their consequences on the health of women and at the same time keeping us ignorant of this issue.
No more manipulation by big business and politicians! It is time for these entities to stop getting sick and contaminating our bodies to fill their pockets. It is time to act and become aware!
Experiment with other alternatives and don't be blind with what the market tells us. There are alternative products to toxicity that are in pharmacies and supermarkets. The alternatives are positive for your comfort, economy, your health and the environment. Here are two alternatives that are ecological, economical, hygienic and without damage to our body.
Ecological sanitary towels:
They are 100% cotton, absorbent and without chemicals, they are reused by washing them after use. They keep us fresh, clean and safe. They are comfortable, reusable and biodegradable. Depending on the care taken, they will last between 2 to 4 years. You can find them on the web if you are interested in buying them or making them yourself by following a tutorial on YouTube.
There are many brands with various names. It is used as a tampon, the difference is that it stores blood and vaginal fluids, it does not absorb them like tampons, which does not cause vaginal dryness and therefore does not have the risk of causing infections. Stores approximately 30 ml, so it does not need to be emptied as often as towels or tampons. It is chemical-free, made from soft silicone, and boiled at home after and before use to kill potential bacteria. It can last up to 10 years if we take proper care of it.
Raising awareness is everyone's job! Let's promote non-invasive alternatives, such as the cup and gender towels! Let's take care of our health, our environment, our economy.
* Uppsala University RN