Usage of sanitary pads may lead to cancer, infertility says a new study
Sanitary pads may not be so hygienic after all. A new study states that most sanitary napkins sold across India contain cancer-causing contaminants. The study states that using sanitary napkins may cause cancer and even infertility among some women. The results of the study are shocking considering almost three in every four teenage women in India use sanitary napkins.
“It is shocking to find numerous harmful chemicals in commonly available sanitary products, including toxic chemicals like carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, and allergens,” said Dr Amit, one of the investigators and a programme coordinator at the environmental NGO Toxics Link which conducted the study.
The NGO is part of the International Pollutants Elimination Network and a report in India Today states that ten brands of pads were tested for the study. The samples that were tested reportedly contained traces of phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Both contaminants have the ability to form cancerous cells. Toxics Link found the presence of certain phthalates that are restricted according to European regulations.
The study also reveals that the chances of harmful chemicals being absorbed by the body are very high through sanitary pads. “As a mucous membrane, the vagina can secrete and absorb chemicals at a higher rate than the skin,” said Dr Aakanksha Mehrotra, a programme coordinator at Toxics Link who was part of this study.
A lot of conversation about menstrual hygiene centres around how one should opt for sanitary napkins instead of unhygienic protection during periods.
However, the presence of harmful chemicals, including carcinogens in sanitary pads has never been mentioned until now.
India Today report cites that according to the latest National Family Health Survey, nearly 64 per cent of women aged 15-24 years use sanitary pads in India. Demography and education also determine the usage of pads. It is inferred that a more prosperous society has a higher usage of pads.