Alternative Menstrual Products
When it comes to environmentally unfriendly products, I’m pretty sure that menstrual products wouldn’t jump to people’s minds. The truth is, though, that conventional pads and tampons are not green at all. It is estimated that 11-14 billion disposable pads, tampons and applicators, and their packaging, fill up North American landfills every year. They aren’t biodegradable either – they can take over 500 years to decompose! In addition, the chlorine bleaching process that makes pads and tampons white has been found to leave behind traces of dioxins, a class of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that are also known by-products of pesticides and incinerator pollution.
Are there any other options available? Yes there are! A new class of “alternative menstrual products” are slowly gaining in popularity, and give women more options when it comes to their period. These include: non-chlorine bleached all-cotton (organic) pads and tampons; reusable, washable cloth pads; sea sponges; and reusable, internally-worn menstrual cups. While these products are chosen for various reasons, they are all kinder to your body and better for the planet.
McGill’s Shag Shop carries DivaCup reusable menstrual cups, reusable/washable cotton pads, as well as organic cotton tampons and pantyliners. To learn more, check out http://www.mcgill.ca/studenthealth/boutique/products/alt, or drop by the Shag Shop, which is located in Student Health Services in the Brown Building (accessible either from the Brown Building entrance at 3600 McTavish – go to the third floor and keep walking west, or the Student Health Services Clinic (Brown Building) 3511 Peel Street, corner Dr. Penfield – Enter the clinic, turn right and go down the stairs).
Here is a video introducing the DivaCup: