Why should women make their own pads rather than buying commercial products? Women who use them cite comfort, lower cost over time, safety, fewer cramps and yeast infections, and less garbage. Making this choice is also a way to "work against the corporate and cultural constructions of menstruation", as the Blood Sisters Project puts it. They note that the health, environmental and social impacts of the $1.7 billion feminine hygiene industry and its products include toxic chemicals and processes and massive waste. In response, the Sisters encourage menstrual activism. Such a movement is necessary in a country where, according to Jennifer Bogo, "6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads, plus their packaging, ended up in landfills or sewer systems in 1998. And according to the Center for Marine Conservation, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999." |
A growing body of evidence is proving that most disposable tampons are dangerous. According to the mercola.com newsletter, "the synthetic materials are often so absorbent that they create a perfect breeding ground for Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), especially in young females who haven't had time to develop the necessary antibodies; and the chlorine used in the bleaching process can release dioxin, a known carcinogen, into a woman's vagina and uterus."
For those who still need convincing that washable pads are a good idea, a great resource is Emira Mears's entertaining and informative article entitled, "Eight Myths About Washable Menstrual Pads Dispelled", in which she takes on the subjects, "They're for hippies", " It's like wearing a diaper", and "They'll ruin my sex life", and puts them all to rest.
Techno-industrial society, for all its so-called "comforts", is a monstrous machine that separates all of us -- women and men alike -- from sustainable ways of living. Whether the subject is diet, exercise, freedom, spiritual awareness, or in this case menstruation, we must make strong and constant efforts to break through the consumerist barrage that fills our mental environment so that we can connect with our true needs and our naturally happy selves. The effort itself satisfying, and some might say is the only real way to live.
The Women's Health Collective meets the first Sunday of every month at the Back to Back. The collective is designed to be a monthly women's resource and discussion group: to obtain and share women's health info and experiences with DIY, free and low cost health care, and other resources such as sexual minotities, domestic violence, reproductive concerns, pregnancy, mothering and mental health. Their meeting are open to the transgender community. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cloth What? Alternative What? Going with the Flow
Blood Sisters Project
"Eight Myths About Washable Menstrual Pads Dispelled"
Make Your Own Cloth Menstrual Pads
Many Moons Alternatives: How to Make your own Washable Cotton Pads
Menstrual Products and Health
The Shocking Truth About Feminine Hygiene Products -- What Are Your Options?
The Hidden Price of Feminine Hygiene Products