Can we talk about periods for a second? Not full stops, but the biological kind? The kind over half the population has had/have/will have to deal with at some point in their life? Yeah, that period. The bloody kind.
I grew up using disposable pads. It’s what we had around the house. I still use them in a pinch. Don’t like tampons much. I’ve used them and break one out if I’m going swimming, but I’m not much of a swimmer. Sometime after the birth of my first child and before the second, I discovered cloth pads.
We cloth diapered baby, so why not? I thought I’d give it a try. Guess what? They work great. You toss them in the wash; they come out, and then you use them again. Instead of shelling out money for a disposable product and filling up a landfill, you wash your pads and you get to use them again.
However, the FDA considers menstrual pads, including cloth ones, like the ones you can go look for over at Etsy, to be medical devices and requires a fee of over $4,000 dollars to be compliant. What does the consumer, gain from this exorbitant fee? Not a thing. The fees are the same for a huge company (who aren’t making reusable anything) as it is for small home-based businesses.
Here is a post from one small business owner, MotherMoonPads, who won’t be in business next year because of this regulation that offers no sliding scale for a reduction in cost based on sales.
The FDA classification that reusable cloth menstrual pads are medical devices and their creators are subject to registration as medical device manufacturers with a fee of $4,624 but no further regulation truly KILLS small businesses. Mine is not the only one that has been forced to close because of the compliance fee. (For the record, I AM compliant through December 31, 2017)
If you appreciate having safe menstrual options other than disposable pads and tampons, YOU need to take action. The vast majority of cloth pad seamstresses are operating outside of compliance, risking their businesses and personal assets to offer you handmade reusable cloth menstrual pads. It is YOUR responsibility as well to help guide change, so more women can sew without the fear of the FDA and their fee hanging over their heads. (I know this is an uncomfortable discussion, but it is one that must be had. FDA compliance does not make pads any safer. It does not give any regulations for materials that can or cannot be used. It is literally nothing but a large fee with no reduction based on business size, which means that the one woman seamstress sewing at her kitchen table pays the same exact fee that Kotex pays).
Sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/food-and-drug-administration-elimi…
Call or write the FDA:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993
Contact your senator: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
Contact your governor: https://www.usa.gov/state-governor “
I’m not saying we should get rid of disposable pads or even tampons, but I do think we should get rid of this small-business killing fee.
If you have a chance, please sign the petition. It might be too late for this small-business owner, but I believe women should have a say about what products they want to use. We, as a nation, need to stop with our obsession over what women put between their legs, because, as always, it’s up to the woman to decide.