Great question. Does anyone actually know?
Back in 2014, Women’s Voices for the Earth commissioned testing for a variety of menstrual pads produced by Proctor & Gamble.
The testing analysed the products for volatile organic compounds and indicated that both scented and unscented pads emit toxic chemicals, including chemicals identified as carcinogens, and reproductive and developmental toxins.
Under pressure from the group, P&G (as well as other pad manufacturers) now disclose some ingredients on their website (not on the product packaging) but many in vague terms, such as the infamous “fragrance”.
There are some great clean, organic disposable menstrual products on the market but if you want to stop feeding the billion-dollar a year industry which is dominated by just a handful of companies and opt for next-level self-sufficiency, you really want to be going reusable.
The cost for disposable menstrual products over 30 years has been calculated at well over $15,000.
This is no small financial cost; in fact, it’s a darn good family holiday or a fair whack off your mortgage.
$15,000 worth of disposable pads is also an enormous landfill burden of 10,000 – 20,000 items.
If the menstrual “cup” isn’t your thing, there are some terrific reusable pad options and also some highly lauded period undies on the market.
It’s not complicated or gross (it’s actually grosser to sit on a public toilet next to a bin filled with other people’s pads).
With the exception of rare traveling, I haven’t used a disposable pad in 13 years. The fact I’m not layering toxic chemical-laden products on a pretty important part of the body was what got me started.
And I can honestly say there are few things more liberating than knowing that I’m not tied to the supermarket for a monthly staple.