1. Wood Pulp Fibers
Fluff pulp is the common name for wood pulp fibers which are used in the absorbent core of sanitary pads and even diapers.
Fluff pulp is a chemical pulp which is most of the time made of bleached cellulose fiber obtained from wood which has long fibers.
* Chemical pulp is created by a method that uses chemicals and heat to convert wood into pulp. This process can be, and generally is, used as an alternative to mechanical pulping, which involves obtaining wood fibers by way of a grinding process.
There are two widely recognized processes for producing chemical pulp. One is known as sulfate pulping. The other is known as sulfite pulping. The major differences between these are the chemicals used, the quality of paper produced, and the economy of chemical recovery.
Sulfate pulping is a process that was developed in Germany in 1879. It is sometimes called kraft pulping because kraft means strength in German, and the paper produced with this chemical pulp is strong. It can be used to make paper bags, writing paper, or diapers. Chemicals are typically always recovered in this process.click here to read more on chemical pulp
Fluff pulp is also known as fluffy pulp, comminution pulp, and fluffing, this pulp is made from trees classified as softwood, which means they belong to the conifer family, such as pines. Fluff pulp is produced worldwide in huge amounts. Some estimates put annual production in the range of 3.5 million tonnes. It is available in a large variety of grades and is used to create a large array of personal hygiene products.
click here to read more on fluff pulp
*** Regular rayon (or viscose) is the most widely produced form of rayon. This method of rayon production has been utilized since the early 1900s and it has the ability to produce either filament or staple fibers. The process is as follows:
- Cellulose: Production begins with processed cellulose
- Immersion: The cellulose is dissolved in caustic soda: (C6H10O5)n + nNaOH → (C6H9O4ONa)n + nH2O
- Pressing: The solution is then pressed between rollers to remove excess liquid
- White Crumb: The pressed sheets are crumbled or shredded to produce what is known as "white crumb"
- Aging: The "white crumb" aged through exposure to oxygen
- Xanthation: The aged "white crumb" is mixed with carbon disulfide in a process known as Xanthation, the aged alkali cellulose crumbs are placed in vats and are allowed to react with carbon disulfide under controlled temperature (20 to 30 °C) to form cellulose xanthate: (C6H9O4ONa)n + nCS2 → (C6H9O4O-SC-SNa)n
- Yellow Crumb: Xanthation changes the chemical makeup of the cellulose mixture and the resulting product is now called "yellow crumb"
- Viscose: The "yellow crumb" is dissolved in a caustic solution to form viscose
- Ripening: The viscose is set to stand for a period of time, allowing it to ripen: (C6H9O4O-SC-SNa)n + nH2O → (C6H10O5)n + nCS2 + nNaOH
- Filtering: After ripening, the viscose is filtered to remove any undissolved particles
- Degassing: Any bubbles of air are pressed from the viscose in a degassing process
- Extruding: The viscose solution is extruded through a spinneret, which resembles a shower head with many small holes
- Acid Bath: As the viscose exits the spinneret, it lands in a bath of sulfuric acid, resulting in the formation of rayon filaments: (C6H9O4O-SC-SNa)n + ½nH2SO4 → (C6H10O5)n + nCS2 + ½nNa2SO4
- Drawing: The rayon filaments are stretched, known as drawing, to straighten out the fibers
- Washing: The fibers are then washed to remove any residual chemicals
- Cutting: If filament fibers are desired the process ends here. The filaments are cut down when producing staple fibers
***taken from Wiki Rayon
*** Polysorbate-20 is fragrance component, a surfactant, an emulsifying agent, and a solubilizing agent.
Polysorbate starts out as harmless sorbitol, but then it's treated with carcinogenic ethylene oxide. It's called Polysorbate 20 because it's treated with 20 "parts" of ethylene oxide. The higher the number, the more ethylene oxide it has been treated with. This substance is then combined with various fatty acids. The Skin Deep Database rates it as only a "one," and doesn't pick up on the risk that it could be contaminated with ethylene oxide, and subsequently, 1,4 dioxane. In addition, it can be laced with heavy metals.
***taken from Chemical of the Day
4. Urea Formaldehyde
Urea formaldehyde (UF) is a cost-effective thermosetting resin that is widely used in the wood product industry. These resins cure easily and are scratch resistant. They are mainly used in the manufacture of pressed wood products.
Formaldehyde is a confirmed carcinogen. It means that it is a cancer causing agent.
click here to read more on Urea Formaldehyde
click here to read on Formaldehyde and Chemical Sensitivity
5. Sodium Polyacrylate
Sodium polyacrylate, also known as waterlock, is a polymer with the chemical formula [-CH2-CH(COONa)-]n. It is widely used in consumer products. It has the ability to absorb as much as 200 to 300 times its mass in water.
Acrylate polymers generally are considered to possess an anionic charge. While sodium neutralized polyacrylates are the most common form used in industry, there are also other salts available including potassium, lithium and ammonium.
This is also used in baby diapers.
click here to read more on The Use & Effects of Dioxin and Polyacrylate
Polypropylene (PP), also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications including packaging and labeling, textiles (e.g., ropes, thermal underwear and carpets), stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes. An addition polymer made from the monomer propylene, it is rugged and unusually resistant to many chemical solvents, bases and acids.
In 2008, the global market for polypropylene had a volume of 45.1 million tonnes, which led to a turnover of about $65 billion (~ €47.4 billion).
Polypropylene is a major polymer used in non-wovens, with over 50% used for diapers or sanitary products where it is treated to absorb water (hydrophilic) rather than naturally repelling water (hydrophobic).
click here to read more on Polypropylene
In order to promote the whiter-than-white, sterile image disposable feminine hygiene products are heavily bleached and treated. Elemental chlorine gas has been a common bleaching agent. This is a source of dioxin, a known human carcinogen. Dioxin is 70,000 times more lethal than arsenic and next to plutonium the most toxic substance known to humans.
Since an environmental campaign in Great Britain persuaded UK manufacturers to change the bleaching method many now use either chlorine dioxide or hydrogen peroxide.
click here to read more on Dioxin and Its Effects
8. Fragrance or Deodorant
This is an invention whereby a sanitary napkin has an adhesive with perfume carrying release agents. Preferably the release agents are microcapsules that release perfume upon removal of a release liner from the adhesive, and/or during the user's wear of the sanitary napkin, and/or upon the removal of the sanitary napkin from the user's undergarment. The perfume releases are either as fragrance bursts, diffusion or both.
click here to read more on Contact Dermatitis of the Vulva
*** Women with excessive vaginal secretions often use self adhesive pads for comfort and hygiene. A fragrance and disinfecting agent are commonly incorporated into the pad and both may produce contact dermatitis. Sterry and Schmoll reported the case of a woman with genital pruritis who had been using self adhesive pads for several months. Patch testing was positive to the layer of the pad which contained the fragrance and the disinfecting agent (CuII-acetyl acetonate and acetyl acetonate). A similar case has also been described of sensitivity to cinnamic alcohol and cinnamic aldehyde present as a perfume in a deodorant sanitary napkin.
***taken from here
Here are some interesting articles concerning the world of sanitary pads:
Chemicals in Sanitary Pads
Chlorine Bleaching and Dioxin
A Research on Dioxin
Chemicals in Sanitary Napkins
Menstrual Products Go Green
... to be continued