Women Helping Women | Seventh Generation
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Women Helping Women

Author: sheila.B

Organic Cotton TamponsIn the last few months it has become painfully apparent to me that the primary job I held for the last 17 years -- mothering my children -- has come to an end. Two of our three children have left the nest, and with only a very self-sufficient 15-year-old at home, I realized that it was time to exit what I have come to call the "mommy coma." I don't mean to imply that the amazing work of childrearing was less than fulfilling -- it was a great job -- but now it's time to marshal my talents and energy and set to work doing something to help others.

By training I am an attorney. After practicing real estate litigation for a dozen years, I set aside my work to help raise three children and to support my husband, Jeffrey, in starting Seventh Generation. I was involved in the business as a member of the board of directors, but was otherwise engaged in car pooling, baking cakes, and making sure that all my family's needs were met.

As I entered into a new chapter of my life, I searched for a cause that needed some attention. It turns out that an opportunity to do some real good was right under my nose. I got jolted when my youngest daughter got her period for the first time at a friend's house a year ago. When she came home, I handed her a box of the organic cotton tampons that we make at Seventh Generation, and was promptly informed that she liked the ones made by a conventional brand that her friend was using. That's when it hit me -- the same women who eat organic foods and use organic cleaning products aren't paying attention to the ingredients in their tampons and pads.

So I have set out to educate women on the existence of tampons that are made with organic cotton. This cotton hasn't been sprayed with chemical pesticides, and it is whitened with hydrogen peroxide. Organic cotton tampons are a great green alternative, and I want to spread that word to the average woman, who uses an estimated 11,000 tampons in her lifetime.

By making a simple switch to our monthly routines, women can help reduce the amount of harmful pesticides and chemicals polluting our streams, rivers, and lakes. Women are a powerful group, especially when we take matters into our own hands.

Nation members: Please let me know your feelings about organic feminine care by posting back to this space.


sheila.B picture
thank you jmwgaud for asking your local store to carry organic cotton tampons! the more we talk about natural fem care options the more demand we can create in the marketplace. so to all you women out there - ask your local grocery or drugstore to please carry organic and non chlorine bleached feminine care products. Women can make a difference. For a listing of stores and coupons please visit www.seventhgeneration.com.
byrdsword picture
I am a firm believer of anti-tampon. I have not used tampons for quite some time now and am interested in why seventh generation tampons are better and how they are made. I support your efforts and would love to be involved.
jmwgaud picture
I have been trying to get this product to be sold at my local supermarket for quite some now. Finally, I go to the store a few months ago and I see 7th Generation tampons and pads. I can't tell you how happy I was. My daughter and I are using them now! :)
OriginalFizzbin picture
Wow! Your kids must be a lot less easier than mine are. Oh, and Diva cups are the way to go.
dwilder picture
I love the 7th Gen pads and tampons. The only issue I have is that the stores near me don't sell them so I can only online order.
annecalista picture
I just came across this article after doing research for a presentation I 'm going to be doing (I'm a college student) on Diva Cups. I think the convo. about organic tampons and pads is great- I actually use 7th generation pads on occasion- but I also wanted to put it out there that there are more options in feminine hygiene too. Diva Cups are re-usable menstrual cups that are made of silicone. I've been using a Diva Cup for about 3 years now and absolutely love it! It does take a little getting used to, but after that it's so easy to use and convenient- you can keep it in for up to 12 hours. I just love that I don't have to buy a "product" every month, and am contributing way less waste to the environment. There are other types of menstrual cups too, such as The Keeper (which I believe is made of latex?) As well as re-usable pads, like Luna Pads. Check out these products!
jasmine05 picture
I don't think the pads you bought were seventh generation pads then as they are the same as Always pads - made of plastic!
hilljennagcb picture
I just want to thank you for this article and the product! I started using the organic pads a couple of months ago and I love them!
kara12 picture
Really your most reputable source for information is Consumer Reports? Even they have addmitted to misinformation in the past. Think to yourself as to what you would consider ingesting because that is basically what you are doing when you utilize a tampon. I consider everything that I put into my body one way or another and I agree with CK123 that we may not realize how these long-term exposures effect our systems. My college courses in toxicology taught me to both respect and FEAR the chemical world. You may try to justify it by stating the obvious of microns of chlorine from a tampon, then I want to eat some fish with mercury that adds a little, don't forget about BPA in cans of tomatoes, what about my Teflon pans? Small steps can add up to big changes especially in those persons whose DNA already make them most susceptable to problems.
CK123 picture
"you would need an electron microscope to find any residual chlorine" Even if there's only a very little chlorine you'd still want to avoid using the product...especially when you consider that tampons are inside your body for hours at a time. And women use this product month after month for YEARS. Truthseeker has problems with 7thG's marketing. And I have problems with disingenuous studies (even those promoted by reputable sources like Consumer Reports) telling us that a small amount of exposure to a deadly chemical is okay but they have no information about the CUMULATIVE EFFECT and LONGTERM of these chemicals. If we know a substance is harmful to the body, why should we try to justify its use...even a small amount of it?
Truth Seeker picture
Truth Seeker
Meika, you make some good points, but there is one that is not quite accurate. Sheila outlines the main benefits of organic cotton tampons as primarily environmental - see her last three paragraphs. These are very good, valid reasons to buy Seventh's tampons, since toxins in our environment sooner or later affect us and our families. (It is not just about the whales and bunnies.) But here's the thing, Meika. When you made your statement about the importance of women not realizing they are "putting chlorine into their bodies every single month" [by using conventional tampons], you will note that Sheila did not respond to that point - she neither confirmed nor denied it. If she affirmed it, due to her relationship to this company, Seventh could be accused of false advertising. By the time conventional tampons make it to the package, you would need an electron microscope to find any residual chlorine - if you even could find a molecule. But it is advantageous to Seventh Generation for consumers to believe what you do, Meika, because they'll sell more tampons that way. So if you say it for them, far be it from them to correct you. If you blog it, so much the better. As much as Seventh Generation does lots of good, they are also typical marketers and will spin and mislead (I am understating here), and allow others to do it for them unchecked, if it benefits them. I won't go into all the other misinformation they've put out over the years, verified by such respected sources such as Consumer Reports, but the tampon thing is a good example. This is what continually disappoints me about this company.
jasmine05 picture
I think women as a whole prefer not to even think about tampons or pads (out of site is out of mind) and it's not quite the same as talking about the latest shoes you have seen either when you meet up with your friends. I suffered from an alergic reaction to the main brands too as it seems Pirogoeth did. The reaction I got was just like thrush. I tried over the counter remedies for thrush which didn't help obviously, as it wasn't thrush. I was allergic to the super absorbents and plastics in them. I went to my local Wholefoods and bought a box of natracare ultra pads (I like the wings) and I think they are amazing. No more itching or soreness as they don't have plastic or super absorbents in them. I also use their organic cotton tampons when I go to the gym or the beach, as I like the applicator type.
cros2157 picture
I totally agree with your comments, and as a women who matches your description in some regards - I think it's a learning process that can be overwhelming when you first start digging into the facts. Which is why I think it's so terrific that there are more an more resources to turn to to learn about ways you can live a healthier life. I just started working for a show that focuses on the topic of living healthier and supporting businesses and companies that are green, sustainable and caring of their employees and environment. You would think after buying organic clothing and food - tampons would come to mind, but frankly they didn't. The learning process of un-doing everything I had been told was good for me is overwhelming energizing and empowering at the same time. I love that resources like this blog and my show exist to help show the way in a positive and motivating light.
meikahollender picture
It truly amazes me that people have become so fixated on and dedicated to eating organic food, driving hybrids, and becoming more aware of our environment's plight - yet even with all this women are still actively putting chlorine into their bodies every single month. Someone once told me that she saw such an oxymoron in some women: they drive hybrid cars, fight for environmental causes, yet put chemically phalate filled nail polish on their fingers and rub paraben covered skin cream on their faces; women are protecting the world around them more then they are protecting themselves. The tampon dilemma is the same as the oxymoron I have just described above- if people are working so hard to create a healthy world around them, shouldn't they also protect their own health?
sheila.B picture
hi. this is Sheila.B. in response to your question about TSS i refer you to an authority in the field, Dr. Philip J. Tierno, Jr. Dr Tierno is director of clinical microbiology and Immunology at New York University Langone Medical center. in his book, "The Secret Life of Germs", Dr. Tierno associates the use of RAYON in conventional tampons with Toxic Shock Syndrome. Seventh Generation's tampons are made with certified organic cotton.
juliehough picture
Hi, I really want to try these products, but have not had a chance yet. But, hopefully you can answer my question about TSS - do the chemicals used in conventional tampons contribute to the risk of TSS? Within the past couple of years I noticed discomfort with conventional tampons that were on the list of TSS symptoms, so I switched to pads and all those symptoms went away. But, I would prefer to use tampons and would try the Seventh Generation ones if the risk of TSS was lower. Thanks in advance.
Pirogoeth picture
I just bought a pack the other day for the first time. I was waiting until my conventional ones ran out. I am so glad I finally got to buy some. They are so much better feeling than my old ones. I think I may have had a slight allergy to something in the old ones. I would get itchy over the week. No ichy-ness yet! If I used tampons, I'd be all over the Seventh Generation ones.
katiakt picture
I too have never thought about the cotton in a tampon. I'm a robot that walks into the store, buys the same brand every month because that's what I always do and I don't think twice about it. I too will make an effort to search out organic tampons and give them a try. Thank you for getting the awareness out!
Consumer Insights Team picture
Consumer Insights Team
HI, this is Sue. I wanted to thank you for your comment. I will add your request for incontinence pads to our suggestions list, which is shared with Product Management and Development. For heavy flow;did you know that we have Super Plus organic cotton tampons? We also have maxi-pads, as well as overnight maxi pads with wings. Let me know if you can't find this product and I will be happy to help you with this search.
baileaf picture
I actually never thought about the cotton in the tampon, which is odd considering I do think about the materials in clothing and such. I would like to try organic cotton tampons, but I don't know where they are available. I will have to see if any of the Whole Food's store carry them.
Anna VanSant picture
Anna VanSant
I have thought about these issues and am sometimes frustrated at the lack of availability of products that meet the needs of many. Pads for incontinence as well as pads for women with a heavier flow are 2 things that come to mind.