What do you look for when choosing period care?
With so many brands and varieties available, we often stick with what we’re used to because putting our trust into something new and yet so personal can feel daunting. What’s more, those switching to organic period pads and tampons face additional confusion because oftentimes “eco-friendly”, “all-natural” and sometimes the word “organic” on the packaging is not enough.
Don’t worry, we got you. We’ve broken down the top 5 organic period care must-haves to help you narrow down your choice and ensure that the products you use are not only effective but also safe for your health.
Since the skin on our vulvas is ten times more permeable than other areas of the body, knowing what’s in your pad and what could potentially be absorbed by your body is an important part of menstrual health. Yet menstrual pad producers in Canada are not required to list ingredients. And those who do list ingredients may not be telling the full story.
Considering how sensitive our vagina and vulvas are—if there is a list of ingredients—avoid products that contain fragrances, dyes, bleach, or preservatives, as these can be very irritating to the skin, causing itchiness and rashes, and even disrupt hormonal balance.
There may also be many other chemicals present that haven’t been intentionally added—such as formaldehyde, chloroform, glyphosate, and styrene—yet the products have been exposed during production or packaging. To guard against this, look for particular certifications (see the next section) that say the product has been independently tested for these chemicals.
So choosing organic period care solves this problem, right? Well, not always. Unless the product has been certified by a reputable organization, labels like “organic” and “all natural” are simply buzzwords. Read packaging carefully. While a tampon may be made with organic cotton, for example, other chemicals—like titanium dioxide—may be added or used during the manufacturing process.
At the end of the day, period care ingredients and buzzwords aren’t super helpful if you’re not sure what you’re looking for or what you can trust, so it’s important to know your certifications!
Certifications from reputable, independent, and impartial organizations protect consumers from greenwashing. Look for certified organic products rather than just organic, because without certification, organic is just a word.
Products that have been independently tested and verified meet strict standards for organic ingredients and sustainable practices. The following certifications are the best and most common ones to look for in your disposable menstrual products:
Ecocert: In order for a product to become certified organic, they must first pass Ecocert certification. During the audit process, Ecocert verifies that everything from the raw materials to the finished product meets their requirements.
FSC: This certificate means that any wood-based ingredients have been sustainably sourced.
USDA Organic: This certification allows organic products to be marketed in the USA and ensures climate and environmental protection, absence of GMO, transparent labeling, respect for animal welfare, conserves soil fertility and biodiversity.
GOTS: Standing for Global Organic Textile Standard, GOTS certification is the creme de la creme of certification and allows products to be commercialized globally. It guarantees environmentally friendly production and processing, respectful working conditions, fibres that support organic agriculture, and prohibits the use of hazardous inputs.
OEKO-TEX 100: To be OEKO-TEX certified means the product is tested and free from 100 of the most toxic chemicals. This includes ingredients that some mainstream pads unintentionally contain, like formaldehyde.
While period care needs to be good for your body, it should also be gentle on the planet, meaning that the products are made with eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes. This includes using renewable energy, minimizing waste, and reducing carbon emissions. Some brands even offer compostable or reusable products, which can further reduce environmental impact.
BPI and OK Compost: On a package, these two certifications mean the product is compostable (BPI) or both compostable and biodegradable (OK Compost). When it comes to period care products, whether you can dispose of soiled pads and tampons in your municipal compost is up to local bylaws. But for home use, products can be cut up and thrown into the compost where, under ideal conditions, they’ll break down within 12 months. Otherwise, products can be tossed into the garbage, where they should break down at the landfill more quickly than conventional plastic options and won’t leave toxic chemicals behind.
4. Effectiveness of Period Care
Even if period care products have all the best ingredients and certifications, it doesn’t mean much if they don’t work. The best way of knowing if they work or not is to try them yourself, of course. But before you buy, read the reviews online! Everybody has different needs but if the reviews are mostly positive, that’s a great place to start.
5. Health Benefits of Organic Period Care
Are organic period pads and tampons actually better for your health? It comes down to how comfortable you are using chemicals that are close to your body. For others, organic and chemical-free products will provide them great relief since the materials used are generally more breathable and less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions and are free from potentially harmful chemicals like dioxins, phthalates, and BPA, which have been linked to a range of health issues including cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental disorders.
Choosing organic period care can be a smart choice for your health and the environment, but it’s important to do your research and look for products that meet strict standards for certification, ingredients, and sustainability. By making informed choices about your period care, you can feel confident that you’re doing what’s best for your body and the planet. It’s your body and it’s your choice to choose what works best for you.
It all started with one idea how can joni make innovative and sustainable period products available to everyone who needs them in Canada. They believe that radical transparency, unapologetic inclusivity, and the courage to be different on purpose is a form of resistance.