Well, we often get to hear that not many people are aware about periods or menstruation. This is that topic which is usually brushed under the carpet. And because this topic has been referred to as very secretive, there is no proper knowledge given to an individual in this regard. Census 2011 population data says, about 336 million females in India are of reproductive age and menstruate for around 5 days, every month, and yet the topic of menstruation is expected to be a hush affair and is wrapped in a newspaper or black plastic, which is given to us each time we buy sanitary napkins. Even today in this tech-friendly era, we fail to know that how harmful are the commercial sanitary pads, both for our body as well as the environment.
The cellular or gel based pads can trigger reasons in our bodies leading to cervical cancer, HIV- Aids, severe weight loss, diabetes, fungal infections, abnormal tissue growth and the list can go on. There are few elements in these pads that infect our system like a slow ticking bomb. The fragrance that comes from these pads can lead to infertility and birth defects. There is also a presence of synthetic material that blocks wetness and temperature leading to growth of yeast and bacteria. Rayon, which is used to increase absorption capacity contains an element called, Dioxin. This Dioxin later causes abnormal tissue growth in our reproductive organs.
Moving on to the environmental point of view, the word plastic almost sums it all. These commercial sanitary pads and tampons are stacked up with plastic. Now globally when these are used and disposed by women, for around 5 days every month, can you roughly estimate the tons of menstrual waste that gets generated? It takes over 500 years to break down.
Whenever we go to a mall and choose a dress for ourselves, we look into the brand, price, and whether there’s any offer or not, whether it looks good on us, is the fabric comfortable, can it be exchanged. We do it right, don’t we? Just the same way before choosing a sanitary napkin it is our responsibility to make a proper research about that item. When researches stated that these pads or tampons bring in many health hazards, alternatives to these equities paved in their ways. We should be aiming towards reducing the menstrual waste and thus we must ensure a usage of biodegradable sanitary aids. There are many such establishments that are promoting the usage of biodegradable sanitary pads and hardly do we hear of them.
Numerous brands have launched biodegradable sanitary pads which are eco-friendly, bio-degradable and better for the body. They are chemical free and are also compostable. As they are mostly cotton based, they are cheaper. We often experience severe cramps and also go through rashes during our cycles. It mainly occurs because of the plastic contained pads that we’ve been using. It blocks airflow into our vaginas and also absorbs all the moisture hence causing severe cramps and also chances of infections. In case of organic pads or menstrual cups we can cut out on this. And most importantly along with taking care of our own health we also save the environment from the toxic menstrual waste by shifting to biodegradable options.
When you dive into a research about biodegradable pads, you’ll come across plenty of options. Naming a few like, Nua, Suraksha, Pee Safe, Suvidha (launched by the government), Heyday, Noraa, Sparkle- this company provides pads made out banana fibre, and this list can go on. In spite of having so many options, little do we know about them? When it is about our health we ought to know everything about the items that we use. Hence it’s high time to seek advice, to know well and to choose wisely.
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