The Problem with Pads as Period Protection


That time of the month. Ah! Monthly visit. CRY! Whatever you want to call it, women have a reoccurring problem. Periods! Every month, for a good quarter of the month, women face the decision – “What period protection do we let intimately kiss our nether-regions?” However, as women, we don’t question if there are any problems with pads as period protection.

When it comes to picking period protection, a large percentage of women choose to use pads. Pads are widely available and simply more common, especially here in Asia. However, the use of pads means it’s almost impossible not to have something frequently rubbing up the extremely sensitive area for a week.

Why What Period Protection We Pick is Wrong.

The question is, how conscious are you of what happens down there? Are there any problems associated with using top brand pads as period protection? According to the Statista Research Department, between 2011 and 2019, the most preferred pad brand in America has consistently been Always. What many people don’t know is that Always pads also always contains chemicals that are harmful to the body.

Chemicals in pads. That sounds absurd and could be a problem for women using pads as period protection. While researching for this article, we learned that many brands use conventional cotton in their pads. This doesn’t sound like a problem, but with further research, we found that conventional cotton pads go through a process that adds dioxins to the cotton. Dioxins, what? Dioxins are a group of chemicals that are known to be a carcinogen. These chemicals found in pads are inorganic and unnatural and affect our bodies negatively.

Have you ever felt itchy and dry down there after using popular pad brands? That’s the dioxins and other chemicals speaking. It takes 1 to 5 days to rid your body of these symptoms after you stop using the pads. Additionally, it is understood that regular exposure to these chemicals will repeatedly bring the symptoms back.

how to find problem-free period protection

So, What Does All of This Mean and What Are Your Options For Period Protection?

As a woman, you should treat your body like a queen by buying and using organic feminine care products that consider the entire process from beginning to end. Using organic pads for period protection mitigates the problems associated with using conventional cotton pads. The entire process should be clean and organic. This is also a far more sustainable option for the Earth, as we are not pushing nature beyond its limits with harmful chemicals to create greater harvests than Mother Earth can provide naturally.

Organic sanitary pads are no longer a secret. They are increasing in popularity as a healthy feminine care product that is not harmful to your lady bits. Additionally, it’s a sustainability-friendly option. OnPoint would like to bring to your attention problem-free period protection products that feel great to use and, are mindful through the entire process. No itch, no dryness and certainly no long term effects. LUÜNA naturals is a brand that aims to redefine the feminine care industry with their line of toxin-free organic cotton and medical grade silicone period care products.

Organic problem-free period protection

LUÜNA proudly makes their liners, pads, tampons and period cups in China with their certified product design partners in order to reduce the carbon footprint. So by choosing this product, you’re saying yes to healthy, sustainable and problem-free periods, while helping reduce emissions too! Luüna is Asia’s first female-led period care company, LUÜNA is driven by a mission to change the way women & girls experience periods.

Learn more about the toxins and chemicals found in conventional period protection in this interview Luüna conducted with an organic cotton expert.

Veronica Yow is an organic cotton guru! She works first-hand with farmers, helping them switch to a healthier approach of agriculture.

Part One: Changing Behaviours

“Most of the time, people create the biggest problems but also have the ability to offer the biggest solutions”

Eva: Let’s start from the very beginning. What was your dream job as a child?

Veronica: I think I wanted to be an air stewardess or something like that so that I can travel.

Eva: And what do you do now for work?

Veronica: I work for an international environmental conservation non-profit organization that specializes in behavior change (aka Rare). My role ranges from project management to fundraising.

veronica yow organic cotton guru
Veronica Yow

Eva: What’s the biggest challenge in your work?

Veronica: Changing behaviors! Most of the time, people create the biggest problems but also have the ability to offer the biggest solutions so how do you help them see that? We use a range of behavioral strategies like Emotional Appeal, Social Influences, and Choice Architecture (the way choices are presented) to change behaviors in communities so that people and nature thrive together.

Eva: What’s something you’ve seen during your work that’s had the biggest impact on you?

Veronica: Seeing change happen on the ground – how sceptical farmers can be initially when talking about regenerative agriculture practices to after they try it. After witnessing the difference in their soil and produce first-hand, they are convinced and become advocates and share their learnings and experience with other farmers!! 🙂

Some of the farmers Veronica works with in Xinjiang, learning how to compost 

Part Two: Organic vs Conventional Cotton

“Organic cotton production still accounts for less than one percent of overall cotton production worldwide”

Eva: What’s the difference between organic and conventional cotton? How do farming practices differ?

Veronica: Organic cotton is grown using processes designed to sustain the health of people, the soil and ecosystems. This is achieved by relying on natural rather than artificial inputs. This systematic approach combines tradition with innovation and science to promote a better quality of life for farmers and consumers alike.

Simply put, organic cotton is grown without toxic chemicals and GMOs (genetically modified organisms). But actually – a conscious effort to grow healthier crops is maintained throughout the entire production cycle. 

differences between organic cotton and conventional cotton farming

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Eva: What effect does conventional cotton farming have on the environment?

Veronica: 67% of the total cotton production in China comes from Xinjiang (amounting to ~10% of the world’s supply). So we can look there as an example to understand the direct impacts on the environment.

With cotton being one of the world’s dirtiest and thirstiest crops, large quantities of various kinds of chemical products like fertilizers, pesticides, and plastic films, are required – as well as high water consumption. Agriculture is the largest water user in Xinjiang. Over a third of the Tarim River Basin faces ‘extremely high’ water stress. Unsustainable farming practices are exacerbating Xinjiang’s severe water loss and soil degradation conditions. 5.5 GT of terrestrial water storage is lost annually in Xinjiang due to increases in irrigated cropland. 48% of Xinjiang’s soil is salt-affected due to inappropriate land and water resource management. 

25-30% of the total pesticides produced in China are used for cotton” 

cotton farming impacts on the environment
cotton farming impacts on the environment

Conventional cotton farming has HUGE impacts on the environment – both at a local and global scale.

Eva: What are the implications if we continue conventional cotton farming?

Veronica: According to FAO, about a third of the world’s soil has already been degraded. We are losing 30 soccer fields of soil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming. Generating 3cm of topsoil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue, all of the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years!!

We are losing 30 soccer fields of soil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming”

loss of soil due to cotton farming

Veronica showed us the difference organic processes have on the soil and the contrast is jaw-dropping! From left to right: soil using compost, using chemical fertilizers and using commercial organic fertilizer.

cotton farmers

Farmers working with conventional cotton are exposed to hundreds of dangerous materials.

Part Three: Myth Busting

organic cotton used for period protection

Myth: All period protection is the same. Fact: Most big brands use conventional cotton, which exposes your body to dangerous chemicals & toxins.

Eva: If cotton is grown without chemical pesticides, does this mean it’s dirty and full of insects?

Veronica: Not true!! Organic cotton needs to meet the same quality standards. Organic farmers use integrated pest management and biological control so it’s not full of insects.

Eva: What’s the biggest barrier to convincing consumers to switch to organic cotton?

Veronica: Lack of awareness and the price.

Eva: Why is organic cotton more expensive?

Veronica: Put yourself in a farmer’s shoe. Imagine if you’ve been relying on these chemicals for decades and decades, (which are slowly destroying your soil and you need to put more and more of them to maintain the same yield and keep away the pests). To do organic, you need to stop using all of these chemicals all at once? By that time, your soil may be so depleted that you need a large amount of organic fertilizer, which you may not be able to afford or even have access to. 

You need to learn all sorts of new ways to control pests and weeds which may be more labour-intensive, and there is a big risk that your production will drop. On top of that, non-GMO seeds are so rare and the risk of contamination is very high if your neighbors are all still growing conventional cotton. Farmers are stuck in this self-perpetuating cycle where they know chemicals are bad, for both the environment and their health, but they feel they have no other choice. There are huge risks involved in transitioning towards organic and, depending on the condition of their soil, farmers are very likely faced with increasing costs and decreasing productivity, especially in their first few years of transitioning. If you are a farmer, what will you do?

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