Pads4Girls project

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photo credit: lunapad.com

Last week, as I was visiting the Lunapads website, I came across an incredible project. For those of you who are not familiar with Lunapads or the DivaCup, let me enlighten you! Lunapads are washable cloth menstrual products, and the DivaCup is a reusable silicone menstrual cup that is environmentally responsible, and latex, plastic and BPA-free. These products are wonderful environmentally-friendly versions of the tampons and pads you would find at your local drugstore. Here are a few environment (and health) facts for you before we begin:

  • Approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are sent to North American landfills annually.

  • On an individual level, each of the approximately 73 million menstruating women in North America will throw away 125 to 150kg, or approximately 16,800 disposable pads or tampons, in her lifetime.

  • Disposable pads and tampons are made primarily of bleached kraft pulp or viscose rayon, the origin of which is wood cellulose from trees. What makes these products perform so effectively is the use of high tech chemicals such as super-absorbent acrylic polymers (SAPs) surfactant-laced gels and leak-proof plastic backings.

  • Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S. Tampons currently sold in the United States (and Canada - I have not been able to find anything about tampon bans in Canada) are composed of rayon, cotton, or a combination of both. Rayon is produced from bleached wood pulp, and the chlorine bleaching of pulp produces a by-product of dioxin. (http://www.lunapads.com)
We are switching over to organic foods, BPA-free containers and water bottles, reusable bags and coffee mugs; why not environmentally-friendly menstrual products?

To cut a long story short, I was writing to you about a wonderful project; Pads4Girls. Lunapads has been sending pads as donations to women and girls in developing nations since 2000, when we were contacted by Zimbabwean/Canadian activist Isabella Wright. She informed us that girls and women had little or nothing to help them manage their menses, and as a result were missing school or work rather than risking discomfort or ridicule. The effect of these missed days is devastating, with girls missing up to 20% of their education and thereby increasing the likelihood of dropping out, earlier marriage and pregnancy as well as limiting career options. Since that time, we have received and fulfilled similar requests from individuals and NGOs in numerous other African nations as well as Mexico and South and Central America. (http://www.lunapads.com).

You can make a donation of reusable menstrual products to send to over nine different recipient groups (you can read more about each recipient group, and choose which one will receive your donation) or even make your own reusable pads to send to a young girl in a developing nation. There is a YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/lunapads) with numerous instructional videos on how to make your own reusable pads. I have myself made a donation of 30$ to buy a Pads4Girls kit, including a pair of underwear, which a lot of girls go without. Also, rather than receiving yet another bottle of perfume (which I will not wear), or my third set of hand-towels for Christmas, I am going to ask that a donation be made in my name to this organization. Why don’t you start by checking out their website? http://www.lunapads.com

You can also receive more information on Lunapads and the DivaCup at OPIRG (631 King Edward Ave. 3rd floor).

-brigitte

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