Sanitary pads are perhaps the commonest period product used by girls and women of all ages around the world. In 2020, the global Sanitary Napkins market grew to about $16400 million. The market is expected to grow bigger, reaching an estimated $22000 million by the end of 2027.
While sanitary pads have many benefits, including their convenience, ease of use, easy access, and ease of disposal, many women have also complained about the downside of this period product. More girls and women are complaining about skin irritation, period rash, boils, etc., all of which may be linked to the dangerous chemicals in sanitary pads.
Unaware of these dangerous chemicals, find below the 5 dangerous chemicals in sanitary pads.
Sanitary pads are made white so you can differentiate the blood-stained surface after use. But they weren’t naturally white. What you’re seeing is a result of a commercial bleaching process that bleaches the absorbent fibers in the sanitary pad. The bleaching process creates a toxic compound, Dioxin, which is highly toxic and harmful to the health.
Dioxin, irrespective of the concentration or level, can accumulate in the fat cells of the body and can stay for over 20 years. Increased exposure to this compound can cause health problems like hormone dysfunction, inflammatory diseases, endometriosis, and various forms of cancer.
Rayon is one of the commonest synthetic materials used in making sanitary pads. This synthetic fiber, derived from wood pulp, is cheaper than cotton but has other health effects. While rayon is great for absorption, it contains significant levels of Dioxin, which is harmful to your health.
The rayon or dioxin content of your sanitary pad can contribute to common allergic reactions, including skin rashes, period rashes, inflammations, boils, lesions, and more.
As stated earlier, sanitary pads are either made from natural materials like cotton or synthetic materials like rayon. While rayon poses health risks, cotton-based sanitary pads also present a different issue, especially with pesticides.
Pesticides are often used in the treatment of pest problems on cotton farms. The chemical has a long lifespan, so they stay on through the production process. In some cases, the pesticides may change into other harmful compounds during production, which may negatively affect your health.
Some common side effects of exposure to commercial pesticides include hormonal disruption, infertility, diabetes, thyroid malfunction, depression, and endometriosis.
Sanitary pads have two surfaces, one to absorb the period blood and the other to keep the period blood sealed in. The base layer, designed to seal the period, often contains plastic. The plastic layer traps heat and blood and creates a suitable environment for yeast and bacterial growth. This growth promotes foul odors and can cause other symptoms like soreness, burning, chafing, etc.
Scents or Fragrances
There’s an increasing number of brands selling scented sanitary pads. While the goal is to keep the foul smell down, the scents may be doing more harm than good to users. With scented sanitary pads, wearers risk the chemical entering their bloodstream, causing health problems like allergies and reactions.
5 Sanitary Pad Alternatives to Try
Are you tired of sanitary pads, scared of the chemicals, or itching and reacting to pads? Here are 5 alternatives to sanitary pads.
Sanitation towels have become a common alternative for girls and women looking to protect themselves from reactions and allergies.
Some advantages of sanitation towels over sanitary pads include the following;
- Made from organic cotton
- Fragrance-free and unscented
- Does not contain heavy or harmful chemicals
Tampons are almost as common as sanitary pads. Unlike sanitary pads, they can be inserted into the lady parts to absorb period blood from inside.
Some of the reasons to consider tampons over sanitary pads include the following;
- You can wear tampons swimming
- Made from natural materials and organic cotton
- Offers the option of cardboard applicators or users can use their fingers
- Tampons are unbleached or bleached without chlorine
Panty liners are great for catching daily discharge. They can also be used at the tail end of your period when the flow has subsided.
Some advantages of panty liners over sanitary pads include the following;
- Made primarily from organic cotton
- Plastic-free and doesn’t contain plasticizers
- Free from nanomaterials
- Free from PFAS ingredients
Period panties are becoming more common among women who wish to eliminate the unnatural feeling they get from sanitary pads. Period panties may be best if you’re experiencing bulges in the crotch area after using sanitary pads.
Some benefits of period panties over sanitary pads include;
- Made primarily from organic cotton
- The product label contains full details of the materials used
- The choice to avoid antimicrobial or antimicrobial period panties which likely has a heavy chemical presence.
Menstrual cups are usually not the go-to option for girls and women. This is because its application often requires a learning curve wherein the user makes some mistakes before they catch on.
Although menstrual cups have their downsides, you may consider them over sanitary pads because;
- Made from 100% medical-grade silicone, latex, or rubber
- Does not contain dye.
There you have it. Which sanitary products have you tried? Was a sanitary pad your go-to option when starting out? Let’s talk.