To continue the discussion I started about natural feminine products I went in search of a better healthier pantiliner and I decided to purchase these from Amazon. A lot of natural products had poor reviews with regard to either staying put or with regards to actually protecting underwear. These didn’t have a lot of reviews but they weren’t all bad so I bought them.
However there is something off about these. Maybe I’m just sensitive to scams but I’m finding it sincerely hard to believe that these are organic and are chlorine free. They are perfume free … or at least lacking any obvious scent. But there IS a chemicallyness to them. Enough that I’m not going to use them. Enough that when I opened one up just to check it out Tim turned pink (which he does around certain chemicals) and then felt bad the rest of the evening. Eeeeee.
I did go ahead and take some photos though for those of you who are interested in shape and size and adhesive. Click any of the below for a larger view.
So I started researching based on the information on the box.
- Made by Apropos – which is a company based in the US. Ok so far so good.
- USA material – that doesn’t tell me what they do to the product once it’s out of this country so even if it starts as organic cotton pulp then who knows what they do to it later.
- Korea Technology … what does this even mean?
- and made in Shanghai – China … these are made in CHINA
So here’s the deal and why I’m really skeptical. There’s this thing with Chinese manufacturing where if they can get one up on you it’s your loss and their gain, too bad for you. So much so that there are stories about people asking what a product is made of and the manufacturer’s response is “what do you want the box to say it’s made of?” So for a product to come from China you need someone who is working on your behalf to ensure that the product is in fact what it claims to be if that’s your goal.
So going back to the pantiliners I bought from Natratouch / Apropos…
So I started looking for certifiers. Things that would be 3rd party approval of a product where the product could be verified. Organic verification? Nope.
So what kinds of certifier or codes do we have that we can research?
Certified number CU-810251
What does this bring up?
- http://certification.controlunion.com/ But neither Natratouch nor Apropos exist in their database of products certified. And the next link might be why:
- http://www.kr900657490.fm.alibaba.com/product/124458913-102986238/Organic_pads_Pantiliner_sanitary_pad_.html This is a listing for wholesale pantiliners on Alibaba which is a giant international marketplace. The certified number applies to a selection of products from and Unverified Supplier – J2LFA CO LTD. So this leads me to:
- http://ocbons.com/ So here we have the actual company. Apropos Natratouch is repackaging and rebranding a Korean product. This isn’t the end of the world but it does give us more detail than what we started with.
NOW the certifiers again: I’m impressed that they have actually linked to these things because that will speed up the research process. http://ocbons.com/01_company/03_certification.php
- Texas organic cotton: this is actually a marketing cooperative, not a certifier. It does however require members to be certified organic under the United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (USDA-NOP.) So bonus points here. BUT back to two points: 1) is the cotton really from this cooperative 2) what is done to the cotton after it leaves the supplier?
- Control Union: so then we’re back to this certifier. And this time we should be looking for J2LFA CO LTD. (or maybe their product: Organic Bon or OCBon or OC Bon.) It does turn up with two types of certification: http://certification.controlunion.com/SearchResult.aspx?Project_Name=J2LFA&Project_ID=0 but then I ran into a dead end because it wants a username and password to get more info than this:
So now my next question is Control Union, is IT a legit certifier or is it one of those companies intended to look like a legit certifier exists so that people are more comfortable buying products?
More research is needed….
But bottom line for me is that although this might be healthier than some of the feminine products on the market, I just don’t trust it to be what it says it is. Or at least don’t trust it to not have other harmful chemicals in it. These products aren’t required to list their ingredients like food is. And like supplements, there’s no safety check to even see if the ingredients listed are the ingredients in the product. Or no check on the organic either. Labeling fraud isn’t uncommon. H&M was caught labeling clothes as organic when they weren’t by an organization in Germany. I don’t at this point in time have the means to get these products tested by a lab so if there’s anything off I’m just going to have to trust my gut. My gut and nose says that these aren’t healthy.
PS – and Natratouch is NOT the same brand as Natracare!!! Nartracare is a brand that many of the co-op groceries carry. I haven’t researched them to know for sure but they are clearly a more mainstream brand than this is. And Natratouch is clearly trying to be mistaken for this other brand. They have clearly mimicked another brand here.
So the next thing I think I might explore … cotton reusable pantiliners combined with fashion tape. Since one of the main complaints about the cotton reusable liners is that they don’t stay put. The adhesive and toxicity of that is something else to address BUT in small amounts and not against the skin, a less toxic adhesive might be an appropriate compromise.
UPDATE – I gave up on pantyliners entirely. I’m starting to use the diva cup a little bit before I think I’ll have my period and I bought a few more pairs of underwear and wear the ones that are already kinda too old around that time of the month. No problems and not even any underwear that needed to be trashed. I’ve also bought a pair of period panties to try but still haven’t done that. I know that doesn’t really help those of you just getting started with the diva cup and in need of something during that learning period (haha get it) but this was what the solution was for me.