The Truth Can Be Inconvenient.

Hello! Today I'm serving up a little platter of 'inconvenient truth'; it is a little bitter tasting of course but I though someone out there might be interested, so enjoy!

I've mentioned in my past blogs that I'm a huge fan of Alicia Silverstone in her quest as a vegan superhero and all the initiatives that she and her husband take to save the planet one day at a time. I read an article on her site a while back about the impact that feminine hygiene products pose not only on the environment but also on the body and it inspired me to change my ways ever since.

courtesy of ecastro photostream

The following is an important read for women who are looking to be more environmentally conscious or are curious about the impacts that our ultra-absorbent friends could pose on their bodies.     So yes, who wants to talk about tampons and pads? I do, I do!

First, let's go over some facts that I know all of you are dying to read (note: all the facts I've used unless otherwise stated are from www.emagazine.com).

-In a lifetime, a woman uses up to 16800 tampons. Okay, do the math on this one people and consider how many women in the world use tampons. WOW.

-Don't let that "white" clean-looking tampon or pad deceive you; they are bleached with chlorine…mmm sounds clean to me!
-According to the Center for Marine Conservation, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999. Ladies, where did you think your tampons were ending up? They have to go somewhere especially if you're flushing those suckers down the toilet!

Ready for more? Here are some good ones:

-Chlorine bleaching causes 'dioxin' which they say trickles its way into the body at low levels. Who cares right? I sip on small amounts of bleach all the time….??? eeeek

-There is no safe level of dioxin exposure.   It is a carcinogen.   Frequent exposure to it (using pads/tampons once a month for instance) can lead to problems like hormone interruption and immunity issues**.

-The number of disposable pads, tampons and applicators added to landfills annually in North America is 20 Billion*

-The FDA does not require manufacturers to print ingredients or bleaching used on tampons and pads packaging.   What does this mean? Well, unless you have some crazy testing lab for feminine hygiene products in your basement, you do not know what you are getting.

Those are just some of the scary facts surrounding feminine hygiene products. However, my intention in writing this piece is not to scare people; there are enough ads and articles out there that do a great job in scaring us to the point where we fear the air we breathe. My goal is to encourage women to get out of their comfort zones by taking initiative to keep their bodies clean while gaining personal satisfaction in helping the environment. I invite you to do your own research and go from there.

photo courtesy of Elaine Broskie (ebroskie1234's photostream)

Now what?

If you use tampons, try the Diva Cup! It is an amazing product. It's a reusable silicone menstrual cup that you buy for about $35 and it lasts you up to ten years.   No more monthly trips to the drugstore and no more having to carry stock in your purse. To learn more about the Diva Cup, check out lunapads.com. I've been doing some snooping on their website- not only do they support a cause called Pads4Grils (please read the "causes" section below which I pulled from their website), but I also found out that they are a Vancouver based company! How exciting is that for my fellow-Canadians?

If you're looking for a convenient, reliable and environmentally-friendly alternative you must check them out. Lunapads offers an option to every menstral product out there, so there are no excuses. I've also heard a rumour that the Diva Cup helps get rid of cramps which definitely makes it worth trying if you experience cramps during your period.

I must admit that my Diva Cup took some time to get used to, but I will say that it is now 100% worth it knowing that I am doing my part, and I'm sure that my body is thanking me as well. My girlfriends think that I'm absolutely nuts because they see it as a huge sacrifice; in reality it's a small change that I made for a great cause. It's a matter of asking yourself if the health concerns associated with a product are serious enough to deter you. And our dear environment….if you could make a small change to help it, would you?

CAUSES (continued from above)

Lunapads has been sending pads as donations to women and girls in developing nations since 2000, when we were contacted by Zimbabwean/Canadian activist Isabella Wright. She informed us that girls and women had little or nothing to help them manage their menses, and as a result were missing school or work rather than risking discomfort or ridicule. The effect of these missed days is devastating, with girls missing up to 20% of their education and thereby increasing the likelihood of dropping out, earlier marriage and pregnancy as well as limiting career options. Since that time, we have received and fulfilled similar requests from individuals and NGOs in numerous other African nations as well as Mexico and South and Central America.

*source: http://lunapads.com/
** source: Alicia Silverstone, The Kind LIfe