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corporate dominance | gender & sexuality

Menstrual pad making workshop on Sunday

The Women's Health Collective will be holding a menstrual pad making workshop on Sunday, at 10:00 a.m., at the Back to Back cafe (616 E. Burnside). "Come and learn all the different options women have besides tampons and how to make your own resuable pads. Any extra thread, needles or scraps of flannel you can bring would help."
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. womenshealthcollective@yahoo.com

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

A few minor details 30.Nov.2002 21:42

The cafe formally known as Back to Back

Isn't the meeting in the IWW hall and not the back to back cafe? BTW the Back to Back cafe is changing it's name to simply "cafe" soon. I really think this whole thing is suposed to happen next door to the cafe in the union hall. Am I wrong? If it is really going on in the cafe, everyone is more than welcome but the worker owners of the cafe are a little suprised to find out about it at this late date. Whichever I'm sure it will be wonderfull for everyone.

i got the location of event from the calendar 30.Nov.2002 22:14

and that's all i know!

moon pads 30.Nov.2002 23:07

peace rebel girl

i have been wearing flannel cloth menstrual pads for several years now. they are super simple to make and can be used for so many moons.

there are so many benefits to using cloth pads besides the obvious environmental and health ones. soaking the blood-filled pads in a vessel of water, touching while rinsing out the pads, using the blood water for vegetation, are all ways to get intimately in touch with one's cycle and bodily fluids.

blood is beautiful! yet so many people are weirded out by it. so one of the best ways to grow beyond this phobia is to wear cloth pads and embrace all of it. it really is transformative!

the cloth represents our canvas that we paint our monthly story onto - all of our hopes, joys, disappointments, fears, resentments, elations and dreams. Letting go of our pent-up energy opens way for renewed creativity and spontaneity. Our blood is the birth of creation.

From the WOMENS HEALTH COLLECTIVE 01.Dec.2002 17:44

CHACHA womenshealthcollective@yahoo.com

All of our meetings are held next door to the cafe in the union hall. We apologize for any misunderstanding. The meetings are the first sunday of every month from 10 am to 1 pm.

The reusable pad making workshop was a sucsess. After doing some research on the dangers of "bleached" tampons I found that Tampons are made of mostly two components cotton and rayon(wood pulp). As well as chlorine compounds, absorbency enhancers (surfactants like polysorbate_20), natural and synthetic fibers such as polyester andpolyacrylate, deoderant and fragrance. Rayon is suspected to be an immune system suppressant. When the cotton and rayon are bleached with a chlorine they create a byproduct called Dioxin, The Environmental protection agency and the International agency for research on cancer have concluded that Dioxin is a probable human carcinogen (cancer causing agent).
The Food and drug ddministration and the Envirionmental protection agency have been unable to determine what a safe amount of Dioxin is so they sugest refraining from prolonged use .
An average woman may use up to 16,800 tampons in her lifetime. A woman on estrogen replacement therapy may use as many as 24,360 in her life time. Accompanied with the mucas membranes in the vagina bieng one of the most absorbent in a womans body, sounds like prolonged exposure to me.

As far as Tampons containing asbestos I found nothing to back this.

The Tampon safety and research act of 1999 (House) reqires that all research reports be made available to the public through the data system and the clearing house under section 486A.
Which means that new development in the dangers of tampons is up to the public to research, Scary.

There is a website for the Tampon safety and resaerch act of 1999. where you can get more info on this .
the FDA and the Epa Also have some useful information on this topic. When I did a search for "dangers Dioxin" on Google I got mostly information about tampons there seems to be speculation that bleached pads can be dangerous too.

So make your own.