We need Plastic-Free -Period-Products! (Global Shapers Hub, Delhi x Taarini Foundation)

We need Plastic-Free -Period-Products! (Global Shapers Hub, Delhi x Taarini Foundation)

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Taarini Foundation started this petition to Mansukh Mandaviya and

Did you know 1 Pad = 4 plastic bags! Surprised that period products contain such large amounts of plastic? That’s just the beginning of the story. The real concern is the effects of this “plastic” on your body & your environment.

Sign this Petition to the government, regulatory authorities & manufacturers to progressively reduce & eventually stop use of plastic in making period products- Here’s why:

Impact on Health:

NFHS-2015-16 estimated that of 336 million menstruators in India only 36% use pads while most of the others are forced to use items ranging from cloth, rags, hay, sand, cardboard, sawdust or ash etc. to absorb period blood.

Of the people who use period products- the most common products are the pads & tampons made predominantly of plastic- right from the top most layer, to in-between absorbent sheets, sticky back layer, wings & even the packaging. Estimates state that 1 pad = 4 plastic bags!! (=2 grams of non- biodegradable plastic).

Quoting a leading healthcare expert “There are high chances of getting fungal infections due to the collection of moisture. Plastic-based sanitary pads might also lead to pelvic infection which can cause allergies and irritation in the vaginal area.”

Long exposure to dioxins & plastic in these products has been associated with cancers, reproductive problems, allergic reactions, UTIs. Chemicals commonly used in these products are classified as carcinogens, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors & common allergens.

The fact that Vaginal tissue is much more absorptive & sensitive thank skin elsewhere, presence of toxins chemicals in products used in close contact with the vulva & vagina is especially concerning.

Impact on Environment:

In India approximately 12.3 billion used sanitary pads every year that end up unprocessed, in landfills. For a country already struggling with plastic waste management- this worsens the crisis in an unimaginable way.

A pad may contain upto 90% plastic & can take anywhere between 250-800 years to decompose- our pads will be strolling the earth long after you & I are gone.

It’s medically suggested that one must not use a pad for more than 3 hours; at that pace a menstruator is likely to use 8 pads per day & 40 pads per month if menstruation lasts for 5 days. India currently has 121 million pad users, one can do the math.

Improper disposal of used pads & tampons is a groundwater pollutant, causes land degradation & is also harmful for surrounding plant & animal life.

To the manufacturers, government & regulatory authorities:

Source of plastic in period products can be traced back to the manufacturers. Pads & tampons definitely revolutionised the menstrual experience but much like everything period products must evolve too. There is a need for pooling of resources towards innovation & production of period products that are safer- including menstrual cups, biodegradable pads & tampons, reusable cloth pads etc. While there are some companies making these products- the price mark up is 100% or more for biodegradable products when compared to their non-biodegradable counterparts- making them inaccessible to a large chunk of the population. Providing incentives for plastic-free period products either by the government or private players can help scale up production & bring down cost- which in turn can expand the user base.

The lack of transparency on the part of companies, makes it impossible for buyers to determine the ingredients of any given product thus impeding them from making an informed decision.

Urgent government oversight & regulation is needed to stop use of toxic chemicals in period products. Currently there are no rules in this regard which essentially makes it “legal” for manufacturers to use chemicals & plastic in these products without performing any pre-market safety tests.

Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 & Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, classify used-period products as biomedical waste & prescribe methods for its proper processing & disposal. However, on ground surveys show little to no compliance with these guidelines, even in urban areas. This is another area where proactive involvement of government authorities can make the situation better.

Way Forward:

Period products form a basic healthcare right & having these pads sold despite knowing the health & environment implications is a direct attack on Right to Life protected under A-21 of the Constitution of India. Regulation of period products & processing of waste produced should form an integral part of the holistic healthcare programme envisioned by the Government of India under the Jan Aarogya Mission. Better products can help reduce a plethora of urinary & reproductive tract infections, uterine infections, pregnancy complications caused due to prolonged infections & other complications and thus bring down the out-of-pocket expenditure on curative medication. It’s time to make better period products AND make them accessible to a larger group of menstruators.


0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!