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Red Alert: Diapers and Menstrual Pads Found to Contain Hazardous Toxic Chemicals

The presence of chemicals that can disrupt proper endocrine function in brands is a major health hazard.

A new report highlighted by Environmental Health News shares that most diapers and menstrual pads contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and phthalates, endangering women and babies who may be absorbing these chemicals unaware by way of genital exposure.

The study arose as a result of a lengthy investigation and class action lawsuit in South Korea after thousands of women claimed that a certain brand of sanitary pads were causing them to have menstrual problems and irregularities. The scientists examined a test group of diaper and menstrual pad brands for the presence of VOCs and phthalates, though they don’t disclose the name the brands. Products were collected for testing from markets in the United States, Japan, France, Greece, Finland and Korea.

The study’s authors determined, “The physical location of the exposure site, the high absorption rate of the genitalia for chemicals, and the long-term exposure period demand a thorough investigation on the potential impact of the exposure to VOCs and phthalates.”

The four diaper brands and the eleven menstrual pad brands ALL tested positive for at least two phthalates. Two menstrual pad brands contained VOCs as well as all four diaper brands.

The chemical levels found in the different brands showed a highly varied disparity. There was a 6,000-fold contrast in levels of VOCs, and a 130-fold contrast in the levels of phthalates identified in the various brands. So some brands are actually better than others on a toxicity level—though it’s a shame we're unaware of which were the worst toxic offenders.

Exposure to VOCs may cause:


Irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract



Visual disorders

Memory problems


Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat



Loss of coordination Dizziness

Damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system


Exposure to Phthalates—common plasticizers used in toys and other products—have been linked to:



Breast cancer


Type II diabetes

Low IQ

Neurodevelopmental issues

Behavioral issues

Altered reproductive development

A recent study discovered that children exposed to phthalates before actual birth and shortly after had a reduction in lung functionality at 6 and 12 years of age.

The results here are staggering and atrocious. Young girls begin their menstrual hygiene journey, oft times with menstrual pads, as early as age 10 until they reach the age for menopause—almost forty years—every single month. When using these highly toxic products it establishes half a lifetime of monthly, consistent exposure to these life-threatening chemicals at a focal point of the body that is extremely vulnerable to physical absorption. Infants wear diapers daily for their first few years of life.

Be aware that sanitary napkins are NOT the only feminine products that pose a risk. Tampons along with sanitary napkins have been found to contain dioxin, a toxic chemical produced when companies bleach their absorbency cores to make them white. Tampons and sanitary napkins are often made from cotton, which is typically genetically engineered and soaked in pesticides, or rayon which is made from purified cellulose being harvested primarily from wood pulp. In many store-bought sanitary napkins we also find this industry-popular wood cellulose used as the fibrous absorbency core in the napkins, again being made of wood pulp, recycled paper, basically landfill materials, that go through an 8-stage bleaching process to turn them white.

*Not so fun fact: the chemicals in sanitary napkins can be made visible by tearing open a pad to the fibrous absorbency core and simply pouring about 50 ml of water onto it. The absorbency core will begin to turn a light yellowish color that's visible to the eye.

Again, the highly permeability of the vaginal wall means that these toxins are most likely getting absorbed with each use over a prolonged period of time.

Also noted by Dr. C.J. Goodman, M.D., CNHP an accredited gynecologist in Atlanta, GA, "...most women fail to consider that when using tampons, the blood released into the vagina contains bodily waste. That waste, and potentially any chemicals in tampons/pads, may be reabsorbed through the vaginal wall and into their blood stream because tampons plug up what's meant to naturally flow out. Poorly absorbent pads cause women to sit for prolonged time on toxic blood/chemicals."

Along with this absorption, the backing up of a woman's menstrual bodily waste flowing back into areas of their reproductive system can become the breeding ground for other complications, diseases, and even the onset of disorders, such as endometrioisis.

There are safer alternatives, but these products are often expensive because they are made from organic cotton and other natural materials. Consumers should look for products that are chlorine-free and synthetic-free. There are also other products on the market that allow women to avoid tampons altogether if they so choose.

*Jewel Premium Sanitary Napkins is one such alternative, providing women with all-natural materials that contain NO TOXINS, are SUPER ABSORBENT, keeping a woman dry and comfortable. They contain patented technologies, such as graphene, that are potentially helping women to experience a more comfortable cycle like never before.

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