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WEN: Seeing Red for Sanitary Protection and the Environment

The Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) recently listed that, in the UK, the use of tampons, pads and applicators generates more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year. An average woman throws away an astonishing 125 to 150kg of these products in her lifetime. Half the world’s population has periods, but how often do we challenge the assumptions behind the products marketed to us? Why are we still manufacturing disposable sanitary products containing plastics that will take hundreds of years to break down? What links are there between female cotton pickers in developing countries and the choice of these products in our shops?

WEN has campaigned for over 20 years to draw attention to the health and environmental impacts of such consumer choices. Following the success of their 2004 report, this March they launched “Seeing Red”, a four-page briefing exploring the links between sanitary products and health, waste, advertising, and chemicals.

Download the full report here:

Originally posted on 20 June 2012

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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