The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Organic Panty Liners Pulled From Shelves After Traces of Glyphosate Found
The French consumer rights group 60 Million Consumers has released a report warning women that a number of feminine care products such as tampons, sanitary napkins and panty liners may contain trace amounts of potentially toxic substances such as pesticides, dioxins and glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller that has been linked to cancer.
Popular brands such as O.B., Tampax, Always and the European brand Nett were faulted in the report. A "surprising" discovery, as the report noted, was the detection of pesticides and insecticides in Always sanitary napkins even though they are made of viscose and cellulose, not cotton.
Small amounts of glyphosate were also found in panty liners sold by the brand Organyc, which touts only using organic cotton.
Although the traces of chemicals were small, this does not completely reassure the consumer group, which is demanding these brands shed light on the composition and manufacturing process of their products.
"It's not because the rates are low we can guarantee zero risk," said tester Dr. Jean-Marc Bohbot, a infectious diseases specialist and medical director at the Fournier Institute in Paris, in a statement (via Google translate). "In the absence of studies on the systemic absorption of each substance from the vagina, we can not conclude anything."
Glyphosate is the most popular weedkiller in the world. Last year, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) infamously classified glyphosate as a possible carcinogen, although Roundup maker Monsanto and other regulatory agencies have maintained its safety.
Still, many other scientific organizations and environmental groups such as Greenpeace have sought more research and regulation on this controversial chemical. Earlier this month, Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy, called for a ban on glyphosate mixed with certain additives (or basically Roundup) due to its perceived risks to human health.
Following the release of the 60 Million Consumers report, Organyc's Italian manufacturer Corman conducted its own tests and “confirmed residual traces of glyphosate” in its panty liners and recalled 3,100 boxes of them from shelves in France and Canada, according to The Guardian.
“We don’t think it is dangerous, it’s simply a precautionary measure, because our priority is the safety and health of our consumers,” a Corman spokeswoman told the publication.
Corman said that while only 25 nanograms per gram were detected, “these traces should not be present in organic cotton.” The company says it will investigate its suppliers, mainly in the U.S. and India.
In response to the report, Procter & Gamble, which manufactures Always sanitary pads and Tampax tampons, told The Guardian that its products are “proven to be harmless” but that the company would improve communication about their contents.
Johnson & Johnson, which manufactures o.b. and Nett tampons, said they only use materials "respecting all the safety criteria" in its products.
Since the report's release, a petition has been launched in France to call for more information about the chemicals used in tampons and sanitary products, French website The Local reported. The petition has already garnered 180,000 signatures.
"When we buy cosmetic products we can get information on what they contain and how they are made, but when it comes to something we use everyday that is in contact with our intimate parts, we have no knowledge of what is in it," said Mélanie Doerflinger, a student who launched the petition told BFM TV, according to The Local.
This is not the first time that glyphosate has been identified in menstrual products. EcoWatch previously covered a study from researchers at the University of La Plata in Argentina which revealed that glyphosate was detected in 85 percent of cotton hygiene products tested.
Most tampons currently sold in the U.S. are made of non-organic cotton, rayon or blends of both, Mother Jones reported. Additionally, synthetic fibers like viscose rayon are added to increase absorbency.
A New Zealand woman, Ana Ames-Durey, was advised to switch to organic tampons after a health scare sent her to the hospital. She soon realized, however, there weren’t any viable options in the market and decided to launch her own organic tampon company, BON, to fill the gap.
BON says their tampons are 100 percent certified organic cotton with no dyes, fragrances, chemicals or toxins.
“It really is about giving people healthier and safer options, to live the best life they can,” the actress and entrepreneur told Cosmopolitan last July. “This is one category that’s very sensitive. The products are going in and around the most vulnerable part of a woman’s body.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The supply chain that provides medical supplies to the world is favoring the U.S. and Europe, which are outbidding poorer nations for masks, gowns, gloves and ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic, according to NPR.
A garbage yard in Lucknow, India where plastic bottles are dumped before being sent to recycling. Abhimanyu Kumar Sharma / Moment / Getty Images
Scientists have engineered a mutant enzyme that converts 90 percent of plastic bottles back to pristine starting materials that can then be used to produce new high-quality bottles in just hours. The discovery could revolutionize the recycling industry, which currently saves about 30 percent of PET plastics from landfills, reported Science Magazine.
- Scientists Develop 'Infinitely' Recyclable Plastics Replacement ... ›
- Plastics: The History of an Ecological Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Find Bacteria That Eats Plastic - EcoWatch ›
Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
Pope Francis spoke about the novel coronavirus, suggesting that the global pandemic might be one of nature's responses to the man-made climate crisis.