Photo Source: http://www.mostphotos.com/1589503/sanitary-napkins-and-tampons
As a woman, I have used my fair share of feminine hygiene products. Apparently someone has done the math and a woman can expect to use approximately 11, 000 + feminine hygiene products in their lifetime. That's a whole lot of money, waste, and exposure to toxins.
First off, lets talk cost. Lets face it, it is expensive to be a menstruating woman.
Secondly, waste. 11, 000+ tampons and pads disposed of, plus all the glamorous packaging they come in...that's a lot of waste and not very earth friendly.
Lastly, lets talk toxins. My quest for feminine hygiene alternatives started because I started hearing more and more about the toxins and harmful effects of using tampons. Tampons are typically made of cotton and other plant fibres , and/or synthetic materials. Well, those plant materials are grown with the 'help' of pesticides, herbicides ...in short, chemicals. Then, because manufacturers want us to have the whitest of white personal hygiene products, they then bleach them with chlorine....another chemical. Women buy these pretty white tampons and insert the chemical ladden product for 4-8 hours of super absorbancy. While that tampon is absorbing our menstrual cycle, our body is absorbing the carcinogenic chemicals. Yes, tampons and the chemicals they contain have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer as well as endometriosis. Chlorine, parabens, dioxin, neurotoxins....No thanks. Oh yes, and another risk in using tampons is that they create an environment in the vagina that supports the growth of Staphylococcus aureus or group A streptococcus (strep) bacteria, which is also sometimes linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome. All this scared me enough that I have not used a tampon, or a pad for that matter, in about 5 years. I realize that there are several 'greener' brands of feminine hygiene products that don't carry as much risk. But then that's where my money sense kicked in. I felt that there had to be a less expensive, greener, healthier option.
At first, I used a Softcup, but then I didn't feel right about throwing it out....it didn't seem green enough for me. With a little searching, I found the Divacup. And the Divacup was the winner! I have been using the Divacup for years and wouldn't go back to using tampons or pads for anything. It is made of medical grade silicone and claims to contain no chemicals. It is reusable and only needs to be changed every 12 hours. The Divacup retails at $30-$40. I believe it's recommended that the Divacup be replaced every year, but even at that, It offers major savings.
If you're looking for more information on toxins and the risks of using tampons, see the links below: