Natracare: The Ethical Company!
Natracare stands for more than just organic and natural products. They are an award winning, ethical company committed to offering organic and natural solutions for personal health care that leave a soft footprint on the earth. For all of their feminine hygiene and baby care products, they use only organic and natural materials that meet the highest organic, environmental and biodegradable standards, sourced from raw material producers that manage and monitor resources respectfully and share their principles Susie Hewson, Natracare founder, recalls how she was inspired to start the company:
Back in 1989, I saw a documentary about the growing danger to human health and the environment of Dioxin pollution from pulping industries with the chlorine bleaching of paper products. What made me especially angry was the unconcerned response of the international feminine hygiene brands. I was so appalled that my immediate response was to research and develop an alternative that respected women’s bodies and our planet. Natracare was the world’s first alternative to conventionally produced feminine hygiene, including the world’s first certified organic cotton tampons and totally chlorine-free sanitary pads and panty liners.
Since 1989, women around the world have chosen their high quality, organic and natural feminine hygiene products with confidence. Soft, certified organic cotton and totally chlorine free, plastic free, biodegradable materials means Natracare only leaves a soft footprint on the earth. There are many reasons why you should choose Natracare and here are just some of them!
Natracare is plastic free, made from natural materials, animal friendly and vegetarian approved, gynaecologist recommended, sustainably sourced, multi-award winning, certified organic AND Totally Chlorine Free (TCF).
Plastic Free Did You Know?
Conventional sanitary pads are roughly 90% plastic! Natracare is different. Their products are made from renewable, biodegradable and compostable materials including organic cotton, bioplastics (made from plant starches) and wood pulp. And by choosing plastic-free sanitary products, you’ll have two positive impacts on the environment:
1. Reducing plastic production
The extraction, production and manufacture of plastics releases large amounts of toxic pollution into the environment. Ozone depleting gases such as Nitrogen oxide, Sulphur dioxide and Carbon dioxide contribute to global warming, acidification of trees and are human toxins affecting our health. All Natracare products are sustainably sourced and processed in a gentle way which does not release toxic chemicals into the environment.
2. Reducing plastic waste
Every year, over 45 billion feminine hygiene products are disposed of somewhere. Sanitary waste is either incinerated, releasing harmful gasses and toxic waste, or sent to landfill. The plastics used in sanitary pads, liners and tampon applicators do not biodegrade at all, and will remain in the environment unchanged for hundreds of years. Waste will often be picked up by birds, or blown across land and into streams, ending up in the oceans. Marine wildlife is at serious risk from plastic pollution, as animals eat the plastic thinking it is food. What’s more, plankton eat microscopic fragments of plastic and transfer it all the way back up the food chain – even on to your plate.
Natracare products are biodegradable and can even be composted! Natural Materials Using high quality natural materials makes Natracare products extremely soft on your skin, and because they are biodegradable, gentle on the planet too. Natracare products are free from all ingredients commonly found in conventional feminine hygiene products; plastics, polyacrylate superabsorbents, petroleum derivatives, synthetic ingredients, latex and perfumes. Instead, they they use certified organic 100% cotton and sustainably-sourced natural, plant based materials. These natural ingredients are highly effective in locking away menstrual fluid and the absence of synthetic materials ensures your skin is able to breathe and stay dry.
Natracare wipes are free from synthetics, petroleum derivatives, alcohol, parabens, formaldehyde and phenoxyethanol, many of which have been linked to skin irritation. Animal Friendly Natracare products are made with everyone in mind, including animals, birds, bees and insects. Natracare founder, Susie Hewson, is a vegetarian and supporter of PETA so it is no surprise that they do everything possible to protect wildlife. You can rest assured that all Natracare products are:
- Free from animal testing. Neither the raw materials nor the finished products are ever tested on animals. Dermatological testing is always conducted on human volunteers under controlled procedures.
- Free from all animal ingredients, or raw materials processed with any animal products
- Suitable for vegans and vegetarians, with certification from the Vegetarian Society Looking after wildlife in the fields where cotton is grown.
- It’s estimated that pesticides kill 67 million birds each year in the USA alone, so by choosing organic you protect wildlife from the damaging effects of these toxic chemicals.
Natracare championed the issue of fibre loss back in the 1990’s as a result of concerns raised both by users of tampons and nurses. Nurses conducting smear tests reported having to remove shed tampon fibres from around the cervix before being able to obtain a clear smear sample. Manufacturers, who at first denied the fibre loss issue, quickly placed a synthetic overwrap material around their tampons to prevent the inner absorbent core of fibres falling away. The choice of material, a plastic called polypropylene, is heated to melt the overwrap and form a seal over the tampon core. This reduced some of the fibre loss, but did not eradicate it. On top of this, polypropylene is made from crude oil and does not biodegrade, ultimately damaging the environment.
For women who want to restrict their contact with synthetic materials and unnecessary chemicals, Natracare is the natural choice. Women suffering from skin allergies, irritation, and soreness and itching may find their symptoms worsen during their period. Many feminine hygiene brands contain synthetic materials such as polypropylene, polyethylene, surfactants, perfumes and polyacrylate super absorbents as well as chlorine bleached fluff pulp. Many gynaecologists advise these women to change to Natracare tampons and pads to avoid these synthetic materials and chemicals.
Women have found relief after using Natracare. The Research Studies have revealed that up to a third of women with symptoms of vaginal itching, soreness and/or discharge may be experiencing the symptoms of Vulval Dermatitis or Intimate Irritation.* Further research has shown that 75% of UK gynaecologists believe that conventional sanitary protection could be the cause of intimate irritation. The study was carried out amongst 40 British gynaecologists with further research conducted amongst their Canadian colleagues. The data revealed that 26% of the gynaecologists who took part in the study noticed a significant increase in the symptoms of their patients suffering with intimate irritation around the time of their period, clearly implicating sanitary protection as a causative factor of their symptoms. In addition, nearly 4 out of 5 questioned felt that their patients suffering with intimate irritation were experiencing sensitivity to synthetic fabrics, sanitary protection and toiletries, and 50% then recommend the use of natural, chemical-free sanitary protection to help alleviate the symptoms.
The story is very much the same in North America, with 67% of gynaecologists recommending that their patients switch to natural sanitary protection to alleviate their symptoms. Mr David Nunns, Consultant Gynaecologist at Nottingham City Hospital, said:
Irritancy is a very common issue amongst women in the UK, and is still frequently mistaken for thrush. This study has shown that expert gynaecologists across the globe have recognised that sanitary protection may be a causative agent in triggering vulval irritancy and so switching to natural, chemical free protection may help alleviate troublesome symptoms for many women.
When Susie Hewson developed Natracare in the 1980s, she spent years researching the very best raw materials for the job. As well as important health considerations and ensuring that the products worked, Susie endeavoured to find materials that were:
Ethical: protecting the livelihood, homes and health of workers and communities where crops are made environmental looking after the soil, water and air and ensuring low carbon dependency
Animal-Friendly: not disrupting the habitats or health of animals, birds, bees and insects who make up ecosystems that are crucial for our planet’s well-being.
Using certified organic cotton and accredited sustainable forestry ensures that Natracare meets high sustainable standards. They only ever use certified organic cotton that has been certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard, for two main reasons:
Healthy For You
Choosing organic cotton and other certified organic products for your personal care means you are reducing your exposure to pesticide residues. A study, sponsored by the FDA office of Women’s Health, published in 2005, found detectable levels of dioxins in 7 brands of tampons. Just a few parts per trillion in body fat cause serious health effects. Even low levels of dioxin give cause for concern because tampons come into contact with some of the most absorbent tissue in the body. Natracare certified organic cotton tampons were tested and found not to contain any dioxin residuals.
Better For Others
There are also enormous benefits for growers of organic cotton, many of whom are women. By engaging in organic agriculture, women gain their own income, and as they are responsible for the education of their children, this independent income is important. Choosing organic cotton avoid these women’s exposure to pesticides, which has shown to cause serious health problems including infertility and birth defects.
Unlike conventional feminine hygiene products, Natracare is Totally Chlorine Free. They use an oxygen bleaching process from hydrogen peroxide, which is the safest process for the environment as it does not release toxins into the environment. This water and oxygen process is used to destroy any bacteria in the cotton or pulp, resulting in the purification and whitening of the raw material. This is then thoroughly rinsed and monitored until the correct pH is achieved.
What’s Bad About Chlorine Bleaching?
Chlorine bleaching creates a by-product called dioxin which poses serious problems for the environment and has been linked to ill-health. Dioxin is a known carcinogen and will leave detectable residuals in any product that has been bleached with any type of chlorine bleach. In sanitary products, this type of bleaching unnecessarily exposes women to low levels of dioxins every time they use these products. Furthermore, it settles in the fat cells of humans and wildlife, and will stay there for the rest of our lives, building up cumulatively over time from birth, so increased exposure means increased risk. Look out for “Chlorine Free” bleaching, as some methods still include chlorine dioxide.