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Nontoxic Period Products: Tampons, Pads, Panties, and Menstrual Cups

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This is a personal topic for me, and not because it's about nontoxic menstrual products.

A few years ago, a family member underwent treatment for cervical cancer. After her diagnosis, she sent me a video about the toxicity of feminine care products (which I had seen before) and said: “I wish I had known about this.”

Honestly, that is the comment that led me to start this blog. I knew that tampons and pads had toxic ingredients in them for a long time and had been using nontoxic products for many years, but I didn't really talk about it because I knew that most of the people around me were not interested.

So I can talk about these things here since you are interested.

Now moving on to the topic at hand…

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Today's swap is menstrual products. Many women never question what's really inside tampons and pads. #holisticenchiladaswap ____________ Unfortunately, this is another example of federal and state laws not requiring companies to list the ingredients in menstrual products, so you won’t find what’s really in these products by studying the label. ____________ Turns out, they're full of glyphosate, dioxin, dyes, fragrances, and synthetic fibers which have all been linked to endocrine disrupters, allergies, rashes, respiratory distress, cancer, birth defects, dryness, and infertility. 🤢 Remember that these products are used in the most absorbent part of a woman's body! ____________ And are you aware of the environmental impact of menstrual products? “Close to 20 billion sanitary napkins, tampons and applicators are dumped into North American landfills every year. When wrapped in plastic bags, feminine hygiene waste can take centuries to biodegrade. The average woman uses over 11,000 tampons over her lifetime, leaving behind residue far beyond her lifespan.” ____________ Make the swap to menstrual cups or organic pads and tampons. You’ll find some recommendations for each product type in my blog post. Menstrual cups are completely nontoxic AND eco friendly. Plus, they lessen the pain from cramps and can be left in for much longer. I use @thedivacup but there are so many options out there which vary in size, shape, and comfort. ____________ I know that for some this seems like a really extreme switch, so that’s why I included organic tampons and pads. If the cup is just too much for you right now, then don’t bother with it. But many women will tell you it is life changing. _________________. You can read more about this in my blog post linked in my bio. . . . . #greenblogger #greenliving #zerowasteliving #nontoxicliving#greenbeautyblogger #greenmama#organicmama #naturallife #wellnessblogger #lowwasteliving #lowwaste #sustainableliving #saynotodisposables #plasticfree #holistichealth #saynotodisposables #trashfree #sustainableliving #ecofriendly #organicblogger #naturalmama

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Toxic Tampons and Pads

I never really thought about what's inside tampons and pads. I figured, like with medicine and everything else you can buy in the store, it's all regulated and should all be safe to use.

I had no idea that these products were full of glyphosate, dioxin, dyes, fragrances, and synthetic fibers like rayonThese ingredients have all been linked to endocrine disrupters, allergies, rashes, respiratory distress, cancer, birth defects, dryness, and infertility.

And in fact, the FDA does not require these companies to disclose their ingredients because they're classified as medical devices. That's crazy, since the vagina is the most absorbent part of a woman's body (straight into the bloodstream).

There's also the risk of toxic shock syndrome when using tampons. I remember reading those little pamphlets in tampon boxes as a teenager and freaking out about TSS so much that I would sometimes change my tampon more often than recommended out of fear.

The other concern with pads and tampons is the environment. According to the book Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation, the average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of pads, plugs, and applicators in her lifetime.

Nontoxic & Eco Friendly Menstrual Products

While this info is quite concerning, there are many safer options.

Menstrual Cups

These have been gaining popularity in recent years but some refuse to consider this option. Please at least read this.

Menstrual cups are reusable soft cups that work like tampons. You insert the cup into the vagina, it collects the flow, and you remove it to empty once or twice a day depending on your flow.

And I'm serious about that only being once or twice a day. Even if you have a heavy period, this will do. They can hold a whole day's amount. I only have to empty mine once a day and I used to change my tampons every 2-3 hours on heavy days.

They are also much more comfortable than tampons and pads and in my experience have been leak proof.

In addition to being nontoxic, these are eco-friendly and reduce the pain during your period.

This is my favorite option and what I have been using for the last 7 years. I often forget that I have my period when using them because I don't have to change them and they don't leak. They do have a slight learning curve and take a bit of experimenting to find the right fit.

Click on each image below for more info on the product. The most popular cup is the Diva cup, which is the one I use. Keep in mind cups come in 2 different sizes so read the descriptions and reviews carefully.

DivaCup a Nontoxic Period Menstrual Cups one of two sizes
DivaCup a Nontoxic Period Menstrual Cups second of two sizes
Lena Menstrual Cup - Reusable Period Cup - Tampon and Pad Alternative - Heavy Flow - Large - Purple
Lena cup with embroidered travel pouch
Athena Menstrual Cups Period Cup - One Pack | Regular Flow | Transparent Blue Size 2 Large
Lunette Menstrual Cup - Violet - Reusable Model 2 Menstrual Cup for Heavy Flow

 Organic Tampons and Pads

If you're not as adventurous, stick to a safer version of what you know.

Kali is an organic tampon subscription box company. They offer chemical free affordable tampons and related products delivered right to your door on a monthly or bimonthly basis.

Honest Company organic tampons

Seventh Generation - Chlorine Free Organic Cotton Tampons - Regular, 20 Tampons

Seventh Generation – Chlorine Free Organic Cotton Tampons

Seventh Generation Ultrathin Pads

Seventh Generation Ultrathin Pads 

Natracare Maxi Pads Super with Organic Cotton Cover

Natracare Organic Pads 

Some women also use cloth pads, which you can make or purchase online.

Period Panties

These are a newer option. I have not tried them myself but have heard good things.

Tips For Choosing Nontoxic Period Products

  • Look for fragrance-free and unbleached
  • Try to buy products with an ingredients list
  • Try to by organic to avoid glyphosate

Check out these related posts:

Want to remember this? Save Nontoxic Period Products to your favorite Pinterest board!

Detox your period with nontoxic period products

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30 Comments

  1. I’ve used the Diva cup in the past, but I stopped – and for the life of me, I cannot remember why! My cycle is coming back around soon, think I will have to start using it again. I really want to try the thinx panties, though the initial cost has shied me away. Logically speaking though, they could be much cheaper in the long run – if they work. If I try them, I’ll let you know!

  2. Love, love, love cups! I really wish I had known about them when I was a teenager. I was a cheerleader and a dancer and a gymnast…so yeah…it would’ve made my life so much better.

  3. Great post. I used to use a cup, but honestly it just vanished one day and I have never bought another one. Maybe I will check out the diva cups.

  4. I’m going to be totally honest, I have never even looked into alternatives for my tampons, but this post shed some serious light on issues regarding tampons. The cup is intimidating to me, but I think I will further research this.

  5. I have heard the importance of using nontoxic menstrual products. To be honest I haven’t switched because it all looks so overwhelming!

  6. Seems like a lot of people like the Diva cup. I’ve been scared because of size and worried about leaks/spills. However i’ll take that risk over cancer any day. Going to have to start shopping.

    1. That’s my rationale. You definitely have to be comfortable with your period to use a cup. There will be blood but it’s really not a big deal.

  7. I have been using the Diva cup for a year now and I am so happy with it!!!! It definitely makes life easier!

  8. A great article! I recently started using a reusable disc & am so happy. I used a website called putacupinit.com to help me choose what would be right for my body. It has a quiz & lots of info. Maybe you could link it to help others who are interested/feeling overwhelmed. Thank you for your info on so many clean products across the board!

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