Actress, producer and goodwill ambassador of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), Dia Mirza has been raising concerns regarding the devastating impact of sanitary napkins on the environment. She is now baffled by the findings of the report ‘Menstrual Waste 2022’ brought out by the NGO Toxics Link.
Dia Mirza appeals to the PM to ensure Indian women get toxins-free sanitary napkins
The report found the presence of phthalates and volatile organic compounds in six in-organic and four organic sanitary pads available in the market. As per the report, alarming amounts of chemicals linked with heart disorders, diabetes, and cancer have been found in sanitary napkins that millions of women buy and use.
Reacting on this, Dia said in a statement, “This is one of the reasons I feel impelled today to appeal to the Prime Minister of India to put in place stringent regulations and systems to evaluate the health and safety quotient of sanitary napkins before making them accessible to everyone.”
Dia added that five years ago, she found out that the most regularly used sanitary pads are made with plastics that are toxic not just for humans but also the environment. That’s why, she said, she started seeking out alternatives and made a switch personally, but things didn’t change at a macro level.
“All the brands that are in the mainstream market to date are carrying the kind of toxins that no woman should be exposed to,” added Dia. “Without any stringent regulations, such products will continue to be churned out. There urgently needs to be a system in place that raises red flags when toxins/chemicals are found in the compositions of sanitary pads. There’s no regulation at the manufacturing level in India unlike in European countries. We must insist, at least now, to call out unsafe products and regulate their quality.”
Asking bold questions, Dia said, “Why are we not holding big multinational companies accountable for making millions of dollars at the expense of Indian women’s health? We have been propagating the idea that sanitary napkins are a healthier and more hygienic option for menstruating women than cloth pads when in fact they are not, going by the latest report.”
Dia added that the right to health is enshrined in our Constitution and she wonders why we haven’t asked such questions regarding women’s health. “It baffles me that we have been supplying not just menstrual pads but dye poison to millions of Indian women. It is deeply concerning and we can surely do better because now we know better,” she said.
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