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Why are we Seeing Red?

Every month, those of us with periods expose our bodies to toxic chemicals, and every month we bin or flush enough plastic to make you see red, all thanks to the unhealthy disposable menstrual products we're sold.


In the UK, every woman and person who menstruates, uses an average of over 11,000 disposable menstrual products in their reproductive lifetime. Tampons, pads and panty liners generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year, and they all contain plastic - in fact, pads are around 90% plastic - which ends up in landfill or, even worse, in seas and rivers. In 2010, a UK beach clean found an average of 23 sanitary pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometre of British coastline. 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.


Conventional disposable menstrual products are bleached white, and this process creates the chemical dioxin, which is linked to immune system suppression, reproductive issues and cancer. The absorbency of tampons also causes less serious but very unpleasant problems, upsetting the natural pH balance of the vagina and drying it out, which leads to discomfort, itching, rashes and infections. What can you do? Use reusable menstrual products, such as washable pads, menstrual cups, period pants or organic cotton tampons and menstrual pads.

Did you know?

WEN was the first to coin the phrase Environmenstrual? We have been campaigning about periods and the environment for decades. Read about our past campaigns.

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