Editor’s note: As a user of the Diva Cup for the past two years, I’m excited to share this guest post by Juliana Tran, a student in Professor Simran Sethi’s “Media and the Environment” course at the University of Kansas. It was originally published to the course blog on March 11, 2008.
Every month it comes and goes, effecting women (and those around them) in their personal health, hormonally, emotionally and on a broader scale, in their environment.
Yes, I am talking about menstruation.
Menstruation is an issue that does pertain to both men and women. There is not an issue of menstruation itself, something that I feel should be celebrated, and not something taboo, uncomfortable, and feared. Unfortunately, there is an issue with the toxicity and disposability of the way women “take care of this problem”.
So, how is it relevant to men? If you have a women in your life, mother, sister, daughter, significant other, show them you care about their personal health by telling them about the consequences of using disposable products!
Excerpted from the Environmental Magazine’s article Inner Sanctum on the issue:
According to waste consultant Franklin Associates, 6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads, plus their packaging, ended up in landfills or sewer systems in 1998. And according to the Center for Marine Conservation, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999.
Can I get Chris Jordan to depict this please?
What makes up the tampon anyway? Think about the pesticide ridden cotton, the trees that make up the cardboard, or the oil used to produce the plastic… made just for us to collect and throw away our menstrual blood.
Not only is there so much waste generated from the use of “feminine hygiene products” (how cold does that sound?) but chlorine dioxide, a known carcinogen, is used to whiten the cotton used in these products .
In support of Stacy Malkan’s argument of exposing the toxic chemicals in our cosmetics, women should have an outright choice of what type of alternatives they have with their products they use for their menstruation, not just Cardboard of Plastic, with a disclaimer on Toxic Shock Syndrome.
So, what are the alternatives? Organic tampons and pads, reusable pads, or my personal savior and favorite alternative, THE CUP! (All conveniently sold locally by The Merc)
Organic tampons and pads are a great alternative, they eliminate the toxic qualities in normal tampons and are perfect for those who don’t want to take the plunge into getting to personal with their menstrual blood, although there still is the consequence of waste as a by-product.
The real excitement starts with the cup, a reusable product that captures menstrual blood and can be used for years that is safe for the body (is is made out of soft medical-grade silicon).
Personally, I have been using the cup for years, and I have never felt better about having my period. I feel more at whole with myself, kind of how when you switch to organic foods, you feel better about how you are taking care of your body, as well as the environment.
By using the cup, you are wasting considerably less, you save an incredible amount of money, it is more comfortable, less of a hassle worrying about health consequences, and you quite frankly, learn a lot more about the way your body works.
Without going into to much more personal detail, check out these websites for more information:
Menstruation is a constant personal factor in our lives, just as much as food and energy is, so consider being good to your body and the environment!
Photo credit: flickr by Nopopcomics