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Organic Vs Conventional Tampons: What's Really The Difference?

For the past few years there has been growing talk about going organic. More and more people seem to be eating organic food, buying organic clothing and using organic cleaning products. Plus, when there’s a demand, the products get made. However, for many ladies going organic in the female personal hygiene department (mainly tampons and pads) has seem to slide under the radar. 

But why are organic tampons a cut above the rest? And why should we care?

Siobhan is the founder of a new organic tampon subscription service called Liverpool St. and she’s as passionate about the organic foods that she eats as she is about the organic products she creates for females. Her company delivers organic tampons to your door via a monthly subscription service. Fuss free, which is why love!

Anyway, we sat down with her recently to talk about why women need to consider buying organic tampons over the conventional ones and how raising awareness re. a few simple changes that can be made, can have a big impact on your health – and the environment!

What is the difference between an organic cotton tampon, a cotton tampon and a conventional tampon? 

An organic tampon is made from raw cotton.  Consequently, they are hypoallergenic, breathable and compatible with the body’s PH level - meaning it won’t alter the natural acidity and temperature of your vagina. Organic tampons are perfume and viscous free and there is no chlorine or Dioxin used in the bleaching process. The manufacturing of organic tampons does not involve toxic chemicals or bleaches and is as natural as the manufacturing process allows us to be.

A “conventional’ tampon can be made of a range of different things, rayon, polyester and other synthetic fibres and treated with chemicals throughout the whole process. In Australia there is absolutely NO obligation to print tampon ingredients on the packaging.

How many women assume their tampon is made from cotton because it’s white and looks like it’s made from cotton? Too many. It’s something we have to become aware of and be concerned about! Would you eat something you didn’t know the ingredients of? It’s our most sacred and vulnerable area and needs some lovin’ (in more than one sense of the word!)

Why should we all be using organic tampons?

During a woman’s lifetime she is likely to use around between 8,000 & 11,000 tampons. It’s frightening to think how toxins and chemicals from conventional tampons and pads can build up throughout our lifetime.  At Liverpool St we believe the less toxins we expose ourselves too the better. Our organic cotton tampons are made from raw material and are therefore toxin and chemical free. There’s already enough toxicity around us from pollution to processed foods, so we say keep your inside clean.

Not to mention the less processing the less impact on our environment. Organic tampons are also more biodegradable than conventional tampons. The list of the benefits of organic tampons is long and we urge women to really think about the tampons they’ve been using and look to adopting a clean approach.

What is the problem with synthetics or dyes in our products? 

Oh, so much. Our skin, our largest organ, is highly absorbent. Unlike our stomach and saliva, the skin doesn’t have the necessary enzymes to break down toxins and flush them out of our body. The skin inside and around our vaginal area is also incredibly delicate and easily absorbs chemicals found in synthetic tampons directly into our bloodstream. (Umm no thanks.) Not to mention that this results in build up over time.  Phthalates, petroleum based chemicals, parabens and aluminium salts. Do they sound like something you’d voluntarily put inside your vejayjay? Which is why we say, quit the synthetics! 

What are your products made out of? How do you get them white without the use of chemicals?

At Liverpool St our tampons are made from raw cotton and certified organic by ICEA under the global GOTS* Standard. Our tampons are bleach free and are washed with environmentally friendly and chemical free products. It is important to note, that organic tampons will not be consistent in colour and are not the brilliant white that normal bleaching gives. But that is a good thing!

Why is organic always more expensive? 

Manufacturing using chemicals, dyes and synthetic materials is cheaper and more efficient. There’s no doubt about it.  It makes for faster manufacturing and therefore delivered to market with greater speed. Organic tampons require more cotton to be used and the time from harvesting to delivery is longer and time is money, as we all know. There is also the additional cost for organic certification. There are rigorous standards and processes that must be adhered to and it can incur significant expense for the manufacturer.

What does certified organic actually mean? 

All tampons, organic or otherwise need to be registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia. Interestingly, the organic industry isn’t regulated by a governmental body. There are a number of organic certifiers in Australia that have varying standards and requirements to meet in order for a product to be certified as organic in Australia.  They all, however, generally follow the global GOTS standard – the standard to which textiles are regulated.  GOTS contemplates having a clean, chemical free processing and manufacturing procedures. The standards are applied from planting, growing and cultivating through to harvesting and manufacturing and delivering the raw cotton into textiles and tampons. 

Are your products biodegradable? What does this mean? 

Yes! That’s the beauty of raw cotton. At Liverpool St our tampons are between 77% - 100% biodegradable, in the right conditions.  They will eventually decompose back into Mother Nature’s loving earth. Conventional tampons are made from synthetics that don’t completely break down. Let’s consider 8000 tampons in one woman’s lifetime…12 million women in Australia…yes, biodegradable is important to leave less of a footprint on our earth.

*GOTS – The Global Organic Textile Standard.

Images: Pinterest, The Sydney Morning Herald; Words: Yadira Galarza Cauchi

Tell us, what do you think of organic tampons. Do you use them?

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