I can still remember getting my period like it was yesterday. It was evening and I had just taken a shower after swim practice. When I wiped, I saw blood but knew what it was courtesy of me studying “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret“–the coming of age for every girl in my generation. My mom supplied me with her super thick Kotex pad that was chock full of toxins but at this time, we didn’t know much better. But now? Non-toxic menstrual products are everywhere, talked about, and easy to find.
So let’s chat about what’s out there waiting for our uterine linings to grace it’s presence, shall we?
What Makes These Things Considered Non-Toxic Menstrual Products?
Happy you asked! Let’s get into the ingredients that are toxic on traditional menstrual products.
Toxic Chemicals and Ingredients in Pads And Tampons
First, let’s start off with how many of these brands aren’t forthcoming with the ingredients of their products. Hello, huge red flag! I don’t know about you all, but if there’s nothing to hide, why not share freely? Let’s get into these toxic ingredients that we HAVE been able to find.
Most traditional pads and tampons aren’t even made with real cotton–they’re normally composed of rayon and/or Super Absorbent Polymers (SAPs). Now some ARE made with cotton but not like organic cotton–think of wild-caught versus farm-raised salmon. And all these materials are bleached with chlorine to give them pristine, white coloring. So what does this mean, right?
This means that there are some harmful chemicals floating around our most vulnerable areas and organs. The following toxins have been found in these traditional products:
- Pesticide residues – linked with cancer
- Dioxins & furans – these are byproducts of the bleaching and can cause endocrine disruption, cancer, and reproductive toxicity.
- Styrene – this is a carcinogen
- Chloromethane – a reproductive toxin
- Chloroethane – a carcinogen
- Chloroform – a carcinogen, reproductive toxicant, neurotoxin (yes, the stuff that is used to put people to sleep)
- Acetone – an irritant (yes, what we use on nails)
- di-n-butyl phthalate – reproductive and developmental toxicants
- di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate – reproductive and developmental toxicants
This is a little scary, right?
How To Shop For Non-Toxic Menstrual Products
Learning that these toxic chemicals could be entering our bodies through our vaginas and surrounding areas is super scary and the fact that producers think this is fine is problematic. But luckily for us, there are brands and products that are readily available to so that we aren’t having to expose our bodies to things that it shouldn’t be–no one wants to be a personal, toxic microwave, amiright?
When you’re shopping for pads and tampons, make sure they have the following on the labels:
- 100% organic cotton.
- Unscented and fragrance-free.
- Unbleached or chlorine-free bleach.
Plastic-free packaging is best but also not always feasible. While we know plastic is terrible for the environment, sometimes there’s no getting around it. Paper packaging is a better option.
My Favorite Non-Toxic Menstrual Products
Disposable Pads & Tampons:
CORA – These were the first ones I ever tried and they even have their own auto-ship through their website. I also love their personal wipes. They also support women and girls that don’t have access to period products.
Seventh Generation – Their products are chlorine-free and made with organic cotton. These can be found at Target, Amazon and most other places as well.
ORGANYC – Now I’ve only seen these on Amazon and never in stores but their brand is excellent.
Honey Pot – Confession: I love her products. Honey Pot offers plenty of options for pads. Be forewarned: they do contain essential oils that can have a cooling effect.
Menstrual Cups & Discs
One of the most common comments I hear from menstrual cups and discs is how to decide which one is for you. Check out Period Nirvana for that–she does an excellent job explaining the different sizes and shapes to use when on your period as well as the differences between discs and cups. In a nutshell, it has to do with depth. You want to make sure that the cups you choose are free from latex and phthalates. There are A LOT of cup options so the ones I share are going to be the easiest to find in stores and toxic-free.
CORA – They have both discs and cups.
Flex – They have an easy to use cup as well as disposable discs
DivaCup – this used to be the only option out there!
When shopping for reusable pads, you want to make sure that they are made from organic, dye-free cotton.
Aisle – They are formerly known as Lunapads and have both reusable pads and period panties
GladRags – They’ve been around for a pretty long time and are Leaping Bunny Certified so yay!
Rael Reusable Pads – These look super cool and come from a reputable company.
With menstrual undies, you want to make sure that their primary material is cotton AND they aren’t treated with PFAS–this is toxic and has the function of waterproofing the underwear. Yes, it’s used in many things BUT the membranes in the vaginal area are super absorbent of toxins and we don’t want a toxic vagina.
Thinx – There has been some debates on the truth of their claims to not using PFAS BUT the organic cotton options have been cleared. These go up to a 3X
Ruby Love – I like that these start at teen sizing and go up to 3X. They also have swimwear so yay!
TomBoyX – They developed a super inclusive collection in both size and styles available that are PFAS free and cotton-based.
Bambody – These go up to a size 3X and test negative for PFAS.
Aisle Period Panties – Sizing goes up to 3X and no PFAS!
Alright, friends. It’s time for you to go forth and have a toxic-free vagina! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for non-toxic menstrual products that should be included!