The Scoop on Safer Feminine Care Products


Having my period is a get-it-over-and-be-done-with-it thing, not a monthly event on which I like to dwell. But it seems that I've been wrong not to look more closely at my feminine care products, the same way I do my beauty products and my food. Here's why:

Pads, tampons and pantiliners may look sterile and innocuous, but they're bleached with chlorine (a source of the carcinogenic chemical dioxin), deodorized with chemical fragrances and mixed with synthetic fibers like rayon and plastics to get that way. And much of the cotton used in regular feminine products is sprayed with pesticides and genetically modified. In fact, the EPA considers 7 of the top 15 pesticides commonly used on cotton to be 'possible,' 'likely,' 'probable,' or 'known' human carcinogens.

All of this, put in an area of our body that is especially sensitive and absorbent. No thanks, even to 'negligible' amounts.

Women who experience vaginal irritation when using conventional feminine care products should try switching to a 100% organic cotton alternative, and the rest of us might consider doing the same, to cut down on unnecessary exposure to pesticides and chlorine. I've been experimenting with a few brands that are affordable and natural and use biodegradable cardboard applicators where needed, instead of  wasteful plastic applicators that create unnecessary waste.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Azalea, a new 100% organic cotton feminine care line from Whole Foods.  This is Whole Foods' high end feminine care line (the alternative is the cheaper 365 brand that mixes cotton, rayon and polyester) and the products are fantastic. A box of 16 regular tampons is $6.99, which runs you a but more than you might typically pay. But you won't find fragrance, chlorine or petrochemical super-absorbent fibers.  And the packages are pretty, a little bonus.

Natracare, a UK line.These products also use organic cotton, and are free of chlorine and fragrance. A box of 16 regular tampons is also $6.99.

Masmi, a Spanish line. I received a sample of Masmi products and the organic cotton, non-chlorinated products were great, but the availability of the line is scant here in the US. Look for these to arrive stateside in the future.

I've also heard of natural feminine care products from brands like Seventh Generation- have you tried these or others? Will you be making the switch?