CHENNAI : Many women have shifted from plastic disposable pads to cloth pads because of the environmental and health challenges posed by plastic pads.Pads that are made of plastic cause severe health issues including cancer, urinary tract infection, rashes, etc. as the chemicals that are used for making them are absorbed into the bloodstream which is in turn circulated in the body. It is said that one plastic pad is 90 per cent plastic, an equivalent of four plastic bags. Prolonged usage of pads could also cause Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) and infertility.
Research proves that sanitary napkins play a major role in the health complaints faced by modern-day women. In this regard, cloth pads have had a comeback due to its advantages of being free from allergens, chemicals and perfumes. It is reusable and is made of cotton.
Similar to pads, in a testing conducted by Women’s Voice for the Earth in the US, it was found that tampons emitted toxic chemicals like styrene, acetone, chloromethane, and dioxin. Therefore disposable pads and tampons are for single use and when thrown away, get accumulated over time causing major environmental challenges. They are non-bio-degradable and hence cannot be broken down by natural organisms.
Cotton cloth pads are akin to cotton underwear when it comes to health benefits and comfort. The production of cotton cloth pads needs to get a certificate from the Global Organic Textiles Standards and the organic certificate ensures that they are free of chemicals. Reusable products require a one-time investment that lasts for three to ten years. Other alternative products are bio-degradable pads, organic tampons, period panties and menstrual cups.
Menstrual cups can hold blood for long hours because of which a lot of women have started to use it. They collect the blood, eliminating all health concerns. Women across the world have used natural and reusable methods for collecting or absorbing menstrual blood for centuries. With the variety available, women should be able to make an informed choice about products that promote health and wellbeing — for oneself, for the community and for the planet.The writer is a lactation consultant at Fortis Malar Hospital.