In the UK, every woman uses an average of over 11,000 disposable menstrual products in her reproductive lifetime.
Most menstrual pads are made from 90% plastic. The extraction, production and manufacture of plastics releases large amounts of toxic pollution into the environment which contributes to global warming, acidification of trees and toxins affecting our health. Sanitary waste is either incinerated, releasing further harmful gasses and toxic waste, or sent to landfill where they will remain in the environment unchanged for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Waste that does not get incinerated or sent to landfill gets picked up by birds and marine wildlife who mistake it for food. It has now been discovered that plankton eat microscopic fragments of plastic and transfer it all the way back up the food chain – even on to your plate.
Microplastics can be twice as harmful leaching toxic additives into the ocean while they break down while also acting like a sponge absorbing other harmful chemicals from the sea water onto their surface. This makes them a very toxic morsel for fish, sea mammals and the humans that eat them.
Non-organic sanitary products are made from cotton that was sprayed with chemical pesticides, which destroy biodiversity and cause potentially lethal pesticide poisoning in cotton workers.
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