Non-organic cotton is the most pesticide intensive crop on the planet. Pesticides are believed to be responsible for some of the more persistent dioxins in the environment and in recent years, the effect of pesticides on human health has been questioned. Links have been made between pesticides and increased incidences of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, asthma, infertility, suicidal depression and birth defects, to name but a few.
Just like nappies, every year feminine hygiene products, made from non-organic and unnatural materials contribute, to tonnes of landfill waste.
According to Natracare, providers of organic and natural feminine hygiene products, up to 90% of materials used to make a single conventional feminine hygiene pad are produced from crude mineral oil. These polyacrylate superabsorbent materials, also found in nappies, are part of the plastics family. As well as environmental issues relating to the disposal of these plastics, health concerns have been raised in relation to the vapours omitted by polyacrylates. These vapours can cause irritation and other related health issues for women.
One third of Australian women are experiencing Allergic Feminine Irritation (AFI), an allergic reaction to the synthetic materials and chemicals found in conventional feminine hygiene products. New research indicates that up to a third of Australian women with symptoms of vaginal itching, soreness and/or discharge may be experiencing Allergic Feminine Irritation (AFI) and not thrush. Conducted by Natracare the nationwide research, amongst 21 gynaecologists, shows that many women consulting gynaecologists with AFI have, for several months also put up with symptoms in silence before seeking medical attention.
Chlorine Bleached, Non-Organic Cotton vs Oxygen Bleached, Organic Cotton – The chlorine bleaching process produces an unwanted by-product called dioxin, a substance linked to cancer, endometriosis and other health related illnesses.
Ses Salmond, Naturopath at Leichhardt Women’s Community Health Centre, says “Organic, pesticide-free hygiene products are in the interests of women’s health. I do become concerned about women using hygiene products containing antibacterial agents because of the affect on the natural vaginal flora. It’s such a sensitive area in a woman’s body that it’s important we take care not to add chemicals and other irritants.”