Environmental and health impacts of feminine hygiene products


By Kelly Windle
EcoShire, Winchester – Your planet friendly retail store

Menstruation is a natural and healthy bodily process occurring for approximately 26% of the global population. That’s about 800 million people menstruating each day. Adequate menstrual hygiene education and products are an essential reproductive health right.

Are you surprised to learn that feminine care products—like tampons, pads, douche, wipes, and sprays—can contain hazardous chemicals? Unregulated toxic chemicals may result in serious health problems, like increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive problems, asthma, and allergic reactions. Chemicals of concern commonly used in feminine care products include carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergens. Because of the lack of government oversight, toxic chemicals can legally be used in all kinds of personal care products without pre-market safety testing. This makes it difficult for women to avoid these potentially harmful chemicals because companies are not legally required to disclose ingredients in tampons and pads.

Lack of awareness concerning the environmental impacts of disposable menstrual products is another

important barrier. A recent study found a relatively low awareness on the part of individuals about the environmental impact of menstrual products. Interestingly, authors found people with a higher environmental awareness of menstrual products were more likely to choose more eco-friendly products, such as the menstrual cup. If you were given more information about environmental impacts, would you choose to try reusable products, or choose disposables without applicators or products made from natural fibers?

Another important benefit to reusable products is overall cost. Depending on the product you choose to use, disposable items can cost upwards of $20 per month whereas reusable items have a one-time cost of $30 which could/should last anywhere from 3 years plus. In addition to being more cost-effective over time, reusable menstrual pads, underwear, and cups may also be part of the solution for product distribution challenges, and waste management challenges.

Menstruators around the world need affordable, consistent access to their choice of menstrual products. To ensure that individuals truly have an informed choice, they require access to unbiased information and education about all the potential menstrual products available as well as increased awareness about their health and environmental impacts.

We opened the EcoShire – your planet friendly store in Winchester Oct 2022 making products available to the public that can help people make educated healthy decisions for their body and the environment. Offering not only ecofriendly feminine products but also many chemical free personal and home cleaning options such as toothpaste, deodorant, makeup and so much more. You can find us online at www.ecoshirewinchester.com or at 535 St Lawrence St. We are passionate about our personal choices to create less waste and make more environmentally conscious purchases, and want to share that passion with our community.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here