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Putting the "Care" into "Personal" Products
by Susie Hewson

Every year, over 45 billion feminine hygiene products are disposed of in the world. These products carry with them a very high plastic load. Because plastic is not biodegradable, it persists in the environment for centuries. The continuous dumping of such a notable amount of these products into landfills translates into 300 square feet every year! Incinerating these products is not a solution because that releases their toxins into our air.

How is it that products designated for "feminine hygiene" are so toxic? It is because about 90% of the materials used to make conventional pads or liners, as well as some marketed as "natural," are made from crude oil. The production of crude oil-derived plastics, which includes polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyacrylate super absorbents (i.e., the material found in disposable diapers), releases large amounts of pollution like these ozone-depleting gases—nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, and carbon dioxide—into the environment. These toxins lead to cancer and birth defects in humans and cause the acidification of trees.

In addition, many companies claim to manufacture chlorine-free products. However, this chlorine-free claim can only accurately be made for those products bleached using hydrogen peroxide. Another toxic substance usually found in feminine hygiene products that women need to be aware of is dioxin, a by-product of chlorine bleaching. Also, most of today's tampons contain synthetic materials such as rayon, a substance linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome, a condition that associates high-absorbency tampons to strains of toxin-producing bacteria.

During the late 80s, women's groups voiced their outrage at how feminine hygiene products were manufactured, their negative effects on the environment, and the implications of these on women's health—a sentiment that resonated with Susie Hewson, the founder of Natracare. Inspired by the possibility of making a difference, Susie envisioned Natracare as a "can do" company, one with an attitude of initiating and facilitating innovation without ecological exploitation. Her vision led to the development of a full range of sanitary pads, liners, and certified-organic cotton tampons that are totally chlorine-free, devoid of crude oil-derived plastics, and made from sustainable and biodegradable materials.

Natracare continues its commitment to the use of organic cotton. The ultra pads and panty liners are manufactured with certified organic 100% cotton covers, and the feminine hygiene wipes are made from 100% organic cotton, plus organic and natural plant extracts for soothing moisture; further reflecting Natracare's dedication to women's health and the environment.

Currently under review for an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), the first in the world, Natracare can demonstrate and measure their products' effects on the environment from raw material to end user. In addition to this EPD review, Natracare was awarded both the prestigious Nordic Eco-Label and a Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) certificate for sustainable and environmentally friendly products. In fact, Natracare greatly surpasses Nordic Eco-label standards and is gynecologist-recommended.

Natracare offers the perfect solution for women who care about their health and the environment.


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