It’s Earth Day! (Healthy Homemaking: Naturally Female)


Happy Earth Day! What a perfect reminder to celebrate and be thankful for the beautiful earth that God has given us to live in, take dominion of, and enjoy!

It's also a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the ways that we can live more simply and put less of a burden on our planet: decreasing consumption and waste, choosing more eco-friendly options, adjusting our personal practices, voting with our dollars and simply becoming more aware of how we can live more sustainably. I've noticed a multitude of blogs sharing ideas on these topics (40 Tips to Go Greener at Home, Thirty-One Tips for Reducing Your Impact While Saving Money, Going, Going, GREEN, to name a few).

To toss in my two cents, here's one of my "Going Green" baby steps from my new eBook, Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time

Baby Step 17- Naturally Female

What this baby step is all about:

Consider the products that you are using for your menstrual cycle, and some more natural options, and if you're willing, make the switch!

Why this step is important:

There are many worthwhile issues to think about when considering switching to a non-disposable option. I would say that the environmental issue of non-biodegradable waste would be my biggest reason for considering the use of something like cloth pads. Next to disposable diapers, disposable pads are one of the items that are filling up our landfills at the greatest speed.

Secondly for me would be the health issues. Here is a brief excerpt from a company selling these products:

    The plastic and glue backing on disposable pads greatly reduce air circulation, creating a stagnant environment in which some bacteria thrive. This can cause odor and exacerbate any pre-existing vaginal irritation. This plastic sheeting also causes perspiration, sometimes rashes and other irritations, and can leave you more susceptible to yeast infections. Many women report allergic reactions to disposable pads, most likely caused by bleaching residues.

    Low levels of dioxin have been found in almost every major brand of tampon (except 100% organic cotton). Dioxin is a known carcinogen and has been linked to cervical cancer, breast cancer, endometriosis, and immune system suppression. There is much scientific debate as to whether there is such a thing as a “safe level” of dioxin exposure. For more information on dioxin, please see the Dioxin Fact Sheet, prepared by the scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

As well, below I have included some links to information about tampon safety.

Lastly, I think that reusable pads are worth considering for the cost- just like disposable diapers, this is a cost that can add up quickly, and I love to find new ways to save money wherever possible. When an issue touches on three such important areas (environment, health and budget), you can bet that I will strongly consider making a change in what I am doing!

How to get started with this step:

There are a few options, really. One is to simply go for it, purchase some cloth pads for yourself (or even make your own- pattern links below!), and give it a try!

Another is to begin to try it on a part time basis. You could use them while you are at home, for instance, but go back to regular disposable pads while you are out. This could be a good compromise, and a bit of an easier introduction to the whole concept.

A third option is to not go with cloth pads, but instead to seek out a brand of natural, chemical-free disposable pads as a better alternative to the conventional ones. These are generally made with more environmentally friendly materials that will break down more easily, and also do not contain the chemicals mentioned above that can cause ill effects to our health.

Online Resources:

Tampon safety- Mercola.com and National Research Center for Women and Families

Where to buy cloth pads (a small sampling of online stores):

Baby Dreams Boutique
Glad Rags
Goddess Moons
Cloth Pads Shop
Lunapads

Where to buy natural, disposable pads:

Drugstore.com
Inter Natural
Vitacost
Greenshopper.com

Make your own homemade pads at Hillbilly Housewife!

Just for fun- The Museum of Menstruation


Taken from the eBook Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time.


Any cloth pad or other natural feminine product users out there? If not, is this something that you think you could do? 

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Several months back after much debate, I purchased moonpads from a vendor at etsy. They are all made from organic fabric and she dyes them herself I believe I read. The only thing not organic was the 2 little flaps that fasten around your panty, but that doesnt touch your ‘parts’ so to speak, and they are soooo well made! Many cute patterns and they hold up so well. The first 2 months I used them (got them in Nov) I no longer have painful periods that would leave me crying on the floor anymore and I never bled through, which surprised me because my periods are pretty heavy, but I already feel so much better.

    Like another reader posted, I too spray some Biokleen on them and let them soak before washing. They are so easy to use and I cant believe I didnt try them sooner. It does take some getting used to since I have never used pads before, but they have them in different sizes and I would never go back to disposables ^_^ (I had to use a tampon 1 time since then and found it so disgusting!)

  2. Just bought a Diva Cup and will get some cloth pads too if I need them. I’m wondering, though, if cloth pads get washed seperately or can they be washed with towels?

  3. Antonella says:

    I use the Moon Cup (british version of the Diva cup, I think) since last year. Ecological, thrifty and sooo confortable. I second all suggestions for the cup. No problems when swimming or fear of bleeding on my clothes.

  4. Antonella says:

    I use the Moon Cup (british version of the Diva cup, I think) since last year. Ecological, thrifty and sooo confortable. I second all suggestions for the cup. No problems when swimming or fear of bleeding on my clothes.

  5. I use lunapads, and LOVE them! It’s a good feeling knowing that you have something natural to use, and not something filled with plastic that has to be thrown into a dump for many, many years!

  6. Thanks, Julia. Those photos are great, and I think they help to really hammer home the facts of waste caused by disposable menstrual products!

  7. Thanks so much for your terrific posting. It’s really great to see that so many women are beginning to be bothered by the waste that is caused by disposable menstrual products, and are therefore turning to reusables.

    I hope that you and your site visitors will want to see a concrete rendering of exactly HOW HARMFUL disposable menstrual products are to the environment. Just check out Keeper.com’s Comparison Photo Page. On the left side of the website, you will see a button with the words, “New: Photos!” in red. Clicking on this button will lead you to the Comparison Photo Page, which shows — in pictures — exactly HOW MUCH WASTE the average woman who uses tampons creates in one month, one year, ten years and 40 years. (And by the way, the average woman menstruates for forty years!)

    I think you will agree with me that these photos are worth at least A THOUSAND WORDS, because, frankly, I don’t think that women who use disposable menstrual products — which is, unfortunately, MOST women — actually like to think about the lifetime accumulation of waste they are foisting on our environment.

    This visual provides actual PROOF of the huge amount of environmental waste we women create, in this small area of our lives alone.

    And you’ll just love the photo on this Comparison Photo Page of the DUMP TRUCK, which is FILLED with 260 POUNDS of tampons and packaging. Believe it or not, the average woman actually uses (and tosses into the environment) that many pounds of tampons in her menstruating lifetime – and if she uses disposable menstrual pads, there will be even more waste!

    The link to the comparison photo page: http://www.keeper.com/photographs.html

    Thanks!
    Julia Schopick
    Director of Marketing
    The Keeper, Inc.
    http://www.Keeper.com

  8. In case anyone is interested, here is the link to my post about the issue – which includes a link to my friend’s tandem post as well. :-) She is using a Keeper and loves it.

    http://meloniek.blogspot.com/2009/04/art-of-being-womanly.html

    Hope it is of interest/assistance to someone!

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