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Female Ecology Notes

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• U.S. women landfill or incinerate 11.3 billion disposable menstrual products per year.

• It takes approximately 500 years for one disposable menstrual pad to partially biodegrade.

Disposable menstrual product manufacturers are not required to list their ingredients.
Nail polish and shampoo manufacturers are.

• Slim maxi paper products are impregnated with synthetic gelling crystals to increase absorbency. Their safety has been hotly debated in baby diapers but overlooked in disposable menstrual products.

• Women are absent in upper management of Fortune 500 companies that manufacture disposable menstrual products.

• An individual woman throws away about ten thousand paper pads or tampons in her lifetime.

• The primary target markets of Fortune 500 companies are adolescent girls and underdeveloped countries like Eastern Europe, Soviet Union and the Pacific Rim.

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• In the U.S., menstrual pads are considered medical devices.

Disposable menstrual products are not sterilized.

• Chlorine bleaching of paper pulp results in 400-700 million pounds of toxins being dumped into U.S. waterways.

• Dioxins, the side-effect of chlorine bleaching, are suspected carcinogens and resistant to biological breakdown.

• Dioxins have been documented to impair liver function and depress human immune systems.

• The ozone is thinned by the CFC's that are produced in the manufacturing processes that utilize chlorine - plastics, paints, dyes, bleaching agents, cleaning solvents, aerosols, deodorants, refrigerants, and wood preservatives.

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• Chlorine was the noxious substance used to suffocate soldiers during the First World War.

• French nurses experimented with the first disposable menstrual products from cellulose surgical gauze during the First World War.

• Trout store dioxins up to 86,000 times more than the water they find themselves in.
We eat these fish!

• Humans are harbouring increasing levels of dioxin in their fatty tissues and breast milk.
(Ed. notes: Formula also has high dioxin levels, so this is not a reason not to breastfeed)

• An estimated two million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals die annually from swallowing plastics including tampon applicators.

• Call the 1-800 number on disposable menstrual products and all white paper products and insist on products that have not been bleached at any stage of production with any chlorine.


Sources: Whitewash, Greenpeace


This article compliments of Born to Love.

More Menstrual Resources:

Online Resources
Books to Read
Charting Cycles
Discussion Lists

Menstrual Articles

• Menstrual Products and Health
• Feminine Ecology Notes
• Women Taking the Initiative for a Safer Environment
• Fast Facts from Whitewash
• Backgrounder: What Are Organochlorines? And Why Are They So Dangerous?
• What Women Can Do to Stop the Whitewash
• More On-line Articles


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Last updated - February 8, 2017