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Are Your Plastic Panties and Formaldehyde Bras Making You Sick?

Updated: Mar 11, 2020

Photo credit: Jacqueline Macou

Dominique Daye Hunter

Yes, you read that correctly. In my blog “A War on Our Wombs: pt. 2,” I spoke about environmental factors of womb related health issues. This is where we get a little more personal. Today, we are talking about plastic underwear and formaldehyde bras.

When I took my womb health journey to the next level, I was reading up a lot on estrogen levels. Something told me to check my underwear.

“Huh,” I wondered, “How could this be related?”

I looked at the tag: 94% polyamide, 6% spandex. Obviously spandex was the stretchy stuff that kept my chonies on my hips. But what was polyamide? A basic Google search came back: plastic.

I was absolutely shocked. From my research I had learned that plastic secrets chemicals that mimic the sex hormone estrogen. That’s right: even your BPA free water bottle contains these potentially harmful chemicals. Therefore, an increase in these chemicals elicits the same response from our body as if we were receiving a high dose of estrogen, symptoms of which include:

· bloating

· swelling and tenderness in your breasts

· fibrocystic lumps in your breasts

· endometriosis (which may cause infertility)

· ovarian cysts

· decreased sex drive

· irregular menstrual periods

· increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

· mood swings

· headaches

· anxiety and panic attacks

· weight gain

· hair loss

· cold hands or feet

· trouble sleeping

· sleepiness or fatigue

· memory problems

· ovarian and uterine cancers

“No wonder so many womxn are sick!” I thought, “We’re sitting our vaginas in plastic all day long!”

It wasn’t long before this that my mother had shared with me a viral video showing that feminine product companies make pads, tampons, and pantyliners, out of trash: literally. Not to mention the harsh chemicals they use to “clean” the trash before it’s used for their products, or the unnecessary fragrances and dyes.

Next, I began to wonder, what is in our bras?: Formaldahyde and polyurethane foam AKA petroleum: the foundation ingredient of: plastic! You can read more details about bras hereand here. The second article is about Victoria Secret and is over ten years old. How was I just learning about this??

So, I’ve created a shopping list. The top personal products I purchase to remain plastic and formaldehyde free:

1) Cotton chonies

I like Hanes because they have many cute 100% cotton options that you can find at stores as common as Walmart and Target. A tip: you may see “100% cotton, 75% cotton 25% polyester” on the package. This means the pack, which can have anywhere from 3-10 pairs of underwear, contains some underwear that are 100% cotton, and some that are 75% 25% blends (usually those in the color “heather gray” or other heather colors). It's mostly met with judging eyes, but how else can you know how many quality pairs you are getting without opening the package and physically counting?? Who wants to buy an entire pack just to realize only a couple pair are 100% cotton? Please label better Hanes, and, to all underwear companies, please consider fading plastic out completely. Our lives and the future of Mother Earth depend on it.

2) Cotton bras

I’ve recently just started investing in cotton bras (I figured chonies and pads were first priority), but I absolutely love my black organic cotton sports bra from (95%

Organic cotton, 5% spandex). Other companies I’ve been browsing are and Does anyone have favorites from these or other companies? If

anything I’ll keep y’all updated on my experiences!

3) Cotton pads and tampons

L Inc. all the way. Chlorine free pads and tampons made without synthetic pesticides, dyes or fragrances. My flow is way too heavy or predictable for a menstrual cup, but I am looking into reuseable pads. However, any chlorine free pads or tampons are a good transition, especially while you save up for the later.

4) Stainless steel water bottle

This is to prevent harmful plastics to leak into your water. I also recommend never microwaving in plastic Tuppaware or other storage containers (microwaving is also just a horror show of radiation, but perhaps more on that another time), especially if they do not read "Microwave Safe." I prefer my Hydro flask for water storage, but there are many stainless steel or glass options.

5) Water filter

Still in the market for one so that I can eliminate plastic from start to finish, beginning

with the plastic containers the Sparkletts or even the 1-2.5-gallon water comes in from the store.

What other products do y’all use? Comment down below your experience with becoming toxic-free for better womb carriers' health. After all, happy body, happy you.

Other resources:

Dominique (Black, Sappony/Irish/Polish descent) is a poet/spoken word/hiphop artist, short story writer, clothing line boss babe, + aspiring recreational therapist. She is also the co-founder of Indigenous Womxn In Solidarity Empowered + Rising. She is currently working on her B.S. in Nonprofit Leadership Management with an emphasis in American Indian Studies, and lives between the southeast + southwestern U.S.

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