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Menstrual period and womans health KEEPER cup

The Feminist Debate: Menstrual Products

When ecologically-minded feminists debate their menstrual product options, they most often advocate using organic cotton tampons and pads, rather than those made from synthetic materials like rayon. The reason most of these women choose the organic cotton versions centers around the fact that the synthetics have been linked to potential health hazards, such as Toxic Shock Syndrome and dioxin exposure.

One option that is often left out of such discussions (as well as media programs and articles) is reusable menstrual products. The truth is, before tampons and throwaway menstrual pads came on the market in the 1930s, women used rags, which were kind to the environment because they were washable and hence, reusable. It wasn't until the '30s, and in the years since then, that more and more ecologically-minded women began to discover that they had cause for concern.

After all, it is extremely wasteful to use a product for just a few hours and then toss it. And according to most estimates, the average woman will use nearly 12,000 of these products during her lifetime. That's quite a lot of garbage!

Whether you flush a tampon or pad down the toilet, or throw it in the garbage, it is going to be problematic for the environment. If flushed down the toilet, these products can clog the sewer line; or they can go on to play havoc with the water treatment plant. (I understand that in 9 out of 10 plumbing problems in apartment buildings, homes and offices, the culprits are disposable menstrual products!)

When you throw them in the garbage, these disposables end up in landfills, where they probably won't biodegrade for many years, because they lack light, water and circulating air. (Did you know that people have dug into landfills and found newspapers from 50 years earlier that are still readable?) And experts estimate that plastic tampon applicators may actually take 300 to 500 years to break down. But since tampons have only been around for seventy years, we can't yet be positive exactly how long the applicators will take to biodegrade. 

So what's the answer for the ecologically-conscious menstruating woman? Reusable menstrual products, of course. Instead of a tampon, women can use the earth-friendly, reusable menstrual cup, called The KEEPER™, made from gentle rubber, similar to the rubber that is used to make baby bottle nipples. Besides being easy on the environment, The KEEPER™ is easy on the pocketbook; one cup should last up to 10 years. And since it is made of rubber, rather than of an absorbent fibrous material, such as rayon, it can be worn up to 12 hours before being emptied. On heavy days, you may want to change it more often. The fact that The KEEPER is not made of rayon, or any other synthetic material, also reduces the potential for Toxic Shock Syndrome and eliminates dioxin exposure. (Are you aware that the FDA does not require manufacturers of tampons or pads to list their products' ingredients in or on the box?) 

But some women want a reusable - but not an insertable - menstrual product. The answer: reusable menstrual pads like Glad Rags, made from organic cotton that, like The KEEPER™, can be used for years and will be friendly to the environment. 

For these reasons, reusable menstrual products are probably THE MOST ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY OF ALL! 

            For more information, please contact the Marketing Director of The KEEPER, Inc., Julia Schopick at 708-848-4788, or email her at

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Menstruation cycle, tss, and womans health KEEPER cup