Good Chemistry: Green Tips for Better Health, from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Posts Tagged ‘diva cup’

Friendly Feminine Hygiene Products

Nearly 13 billion sanitary pads and 7 billion tampons are dumped into landfills each year. Besides creating lots of waste, these products are also harming our bodies because of the chemicals they are made from. They contain bleaching agents, additives, synthetic materials, and a whole host of other nasty chemicals, which are absorbed by our bodies each month. Luckily, there are some body-friendly alternatives. diva-cup

The menstrual cup is a reusable, cup-shaped device worn inside of the vagina during menstruation. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it, leaving you free of harmful chemicals.  When full, you simply empty the cup and then re-insert.  Because it can be used time and time again—up to 10 years with some models!—you will reduce your monthly waste by a significant amount.  

Organic pads are designed to look just like the disposable ones but without the harsh chemicals and plastic.  Seventh Generation sells pantiliners and pads that are made of a combination of absorbent materials, polyolefins, adhesives, and a silicone coated paper. The top layer is a non-woven polyolefin cover sheet. The absorbent material consists of chlorine free wood pulp.

Instead of using regular tampons and applicators, try using certified organic cotton tampons and applicators.  Seventh Generation produces tampons and applicators that are made of organic cotton, and certified by Quality Assurance International, Inc.  Organic tampons are the way to go because they are free of chlorine—a chemical used in the whitening process of regular pads and tampons. Seventh Generation’s products also contain no rayon, and the packaging is made of 80% post-consumer recycled content.

I hope this information really helps all you woman realize what types of products you are buying and using on your own body!  Switching to organic feminine hygiene products is a healthy switch as well as an environmentally friendly switch!

Posted by on May 25th, 2010 6 Comments

Scrutinizing Tampons


Several weeks ago, we answered a sexual health question on our Consensual Text blog: a college-age woman had inquired about the risks of scented tampons.

This prompted a bumpy ride on the web that included all shades of scary:  tampon processing and manufacturing are rumored to include everything from dioxin to asbestos.  Much of this information is false or unproven, but Estronaut summed up the main concerns:

"Most tampons are made of rayon. Rayon is made of cellulose and fibers of wood.  The processing includes chlorine bleaching, which is known to produce dioxin.  The makers say they wash it all away.  Critics say they don't."

There is some suspicion that organochlorines, like dioxin, mimic sex hormones, therefore causing sex-related health issues, cancer and decreased fertility. A tampon serves as an immediate delivery system to your reproductive organs, as vaginal walls easily absorb substances.

While there is an immense amount of research being done, many questions remain unanswered. Until there is conclusive data, it may be wise to minimize exposure to unnecessary contaminants, especially with many alternatives available. As we mentioned in a previous post, the Diva Cup is a viable option, as are tampons manufactured by Seventh Generation and other companies.

Seventh Generation is also encouraging good reproductive health by donating $1 per sign up at Let's Talk Period to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund today.  Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women.

Something that is actually inserted into your body, probably deserves the highest level scrutiny.

Posted by on September 1st, 2009 1 Comment

Red & Green

Submitted by our intern Julia...


Red and green don’t have to clash. In fact, they can be the recipe for an environmentally responsible period!

With many feminine products utilizing dioxins, bleach, and creating post-consumer waste (wrappers & applicators), perhaps it is time to try something new?  The Diva Cup, a concept the website claims is 75 years old, is a reusable silicon cup that comes in 2 sizes.  Model 1 is for women under 30 who have never given birth, and Model 2 for women over 30, or those who have given birth. It is inserted vaginally and covers the cervix.

After an initial investment of about $30-$40, it may be last time you spend money on "feminine hygiene products".  It can be purchased at or, and in many health food stores.

I'm a devoted user of the cup, but was initially hesitant. Inserting a cup into my vagina that simply collects the blood? Not feasible...until I tried. After a simple insertion, I only had to empty the cup once  a day, and often forgot I had it! When emptying the cup at home, you can wash it in the sink, which begs the question of public restrooms. This problem is solved by emptying the cup in the toilet.

Why stop with reusable grocery bags? The Diva Cup is an affordable change that makes a big difference for the environment and your wellbeing.

Posted by on June 14th, 2009 2 Comments