A Sanitary Napkin is the most effective health and hygiene tool women worldwide use to combat period discomfort. Alternatives like tampons and menstruation cups are available in today's fast-paced society. Still, sanitary pads continue to be the most popular option for women.
Many women use Sanitary Napkins throughout their menstrual cycles to contain blood. However, many studies have shown the dangers of these menstrual hygiene products throughout the years, warning against using them because of the damage they do to the body and the environment as single-use items that may include plastic.
Menstruators, or those who menstruate, require safe menstruation products that allow them to engage in regular activities without physical restrictions. According to the report, disposable sanitary pads are currently the most popular menstrual product worldwide. Most menstruators use sanitary pads as their primary product for around 1,800 days during their lifetime.
According to research undertaken by a Delhi-based environmental NGO, popular sanitary napkins in India contain significant quantities of toxins connected with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
According to the release, the research evaluated a Vast selection of popular tampon and pad brands sold throughout the nation and found the presence of compounds known to irritate or even allergens human skin and interfere with the proper functioning of hormones. In addition, the paper included data on pollutants in tampons and pads that cause cancer and discharge microplastic particles into the environment.
A further report, titled "Wrapped in Secrecy: Toxic Chemicals in Menstrual Products," was just issued by the environmental NGO Toxics Link, adding to the growing body of research on this topic. The researcher claimed that organic and inorganic sanitary pads offered in the Indian market include harmful substances, including phthalates and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
According to the results, a self-proclaimed organic pad had 19,460 micrograms per kilogram (g/kg) of DIDP, the most common phthalate.
The Organic and inorganic samples had levels of phthalates more than the 0.1% limit set by EU regulations; these levels were 0.0321 and 0.0224 grams, respectively.
Twenty-five volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), including acetone, chloroform, Benzene, toluene, and others, were found in inorganic and organic sanitary napkin samples that were analyzed.
The study also claimed that it was shocking to find substantial VOCs in all the organic samples, shattering the idea that organic pads are safer than any other.
"The majority of these chemicals are used to increase the pad's flexibility. However, they are hazardous since they may lead to conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, hypothyroidism, etc. Phthalates are not attached to the product to which they are introduced; they escape. In addition, the vaginal tissues are more permeable than other tissues. Therefore, these substances are absorbed into the body at a faster rate," said Dr. Mehrotra.
She explained that the pads include VOCs for aroma, which may induce allergic responses. In addition, she noted that after the pads are disposed of, they are added to the soil and eventually enter the food chain, which is equally harmful to human health.
Dr. Uma Vaidyanathan, a gynecologist at Fortis Hospital, agreed with her, stating that women who use sanitary napkins must remember that the skin there is "extremely delicate and sensitive." "It tends to absorb these substances rapidly. As physicians, we provide hormones via the vagina. So consider how quickly the body will absorb these compounds if they are present in sanitary napkins. She noted that the phthalates and volatile organic compounds described in the report might cause severe reproductive damage and behavioral issues.
Menstruators should have access to safe menstruation products and the right to know what women are exposed to in the markets.
Dr. Vaidyanathan advised utilizing environmentally friendly alternatives that are safer, such as cloth napkins and menstruation cups.
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