Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Indian sanitary pad revolutionary
BBC ^ | 3 March 2014 | Vibeke Venema

Posted on 03/04/2014 8:18:06 AM PST by csvset

A school dropout from a poor family in southern India has revolutionised menstrual health for rural women in developing countries by inventing a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads.

Arunachalam Muruganantham's invention came at great personal cost - he nearly lost his family, his money and his place in society. But he kept his sense of humour.

"It all started with my wife," he says. In 1998 he was newly married and his world revolved around his wife, Shanthi, and his widowed mother. One day he saw Shanthi was hiding something from him. He was shocked to discover what it was - rags, "nasty cloths" which she used during menstruation.

"I will be honest," says Muruganantham. "I would not even use it to clean my scooter." When he asked her why she didn't use sanitary pads, she pointed out that if she bought them for the women in the family, she wouldn't be able to afford to buy milk or run the household.

Wanting to impress his young wife, Muruganantham went into town to buy her a sanitary pad. It was handed to him hurriedly, as if it were contraband. He weighed it in his hand and wondered why 10g (less than 0.5oz) of cotton, which at the time cost 10 paise (£0.001), should sell for 4 rupees (£0.04) - 40 times the price. He decided he could make them cheaper himself.

He fashioned a sanitary pad out of cotton and gave it to Shanthi, demanding immediate feedback. She said he'd have to wait for some time - only then did he realise that periods were monthly. "I can't wait a month for each feedback, it'll take two decades!" He needed more volunteers.

When Muruganantham looked into it further, he discovered that hardly any women in the surrounding villages used sanitary pads - fewer than one in 10. His findings were echoed by a 2011 survey by AC Nielsen, commissioned by the Indian government, which found that only 12% of women across India use sanitary pads.

Muruganantham says that in rural areas, the take-up is far less than that. He was shocked to learn that women don't just use old rags, but other unhygienic substances such as sand, sawdust, leaves and even ash.

Women who do use cloths are often too embarrassed to dry them in the sun, which means they don't get disinfected. Approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India are caused by poor menstrual hygiene - it can also affect maternal mortality.

Finding volunteers to test his products was no mean feat. His sisters refused, so he had the idea of approaching female students at his local medical college. "But how can a workshop worker approach a medical college girl?" Muruganantham says. "Not even college boys can go near these girls!"

He managed to convince 20 students to try out his pads - but it still didn't quite work out. On the day he came to collect their feedback sheets he caught three of the girls industriously filling them all in. These results obviously could not be relied on. It was then that he decided to test the products on himself. "I became the man who wore a sanitary pad," he says.

He created a "uterus" from a football bladder by punching a couple of holes in it, and filling it with goat's blood. A former classmate, a butcher, would ring his bicycle bell outside the house whenever he was going to kill a goat. Muruganantham would collect the blood and mix in an additive he got from another friend at a blood bank to prevent it clotting too quickly - but it didn't stop the smell.

He walked, cycled and ran with the football bladder under his traditional clothes, constantly pumping blood out to test his sanitary pad's absorption rates. Everyone thought he'd gone mad.

He used to wash his bloodied clothes at a public well and the whole village concluded he had a sexual disease. Friends crossed the road to avoid him. "I had become a pervert," he says. At the same time, his wife got fed up - and left. "So you see God's sense of humour," he says in the documentary Menstrual Man by Amit Virmani. "I'd started the research for my wife and after 18 months she left me!"

Then he had another brainwave - he would study used sanitary pads: surely this would reveal everything. This idea posed an even greater risk in such a superstitious community. "Even if I ask for a hair from a lady, she would suspect I am doing some black magic on her to mesmerise her," he says.

He supplied his group of medical students with sanitary pads and collected them afterwards. He laid his haul out in the back yard to study, only for his mother to stumble across the grisly scene one afternoon. It was the final straw. She cried, put her sari on the ground, put her belongings into it, and left. "It was a problem for me," he says. "I had to cook my own food."

Worse was to come. The villagers became convinced he was possessed by evil spirits, and were about to chain him upside down to a tree to be "healed" by the local soothsayer. He only narrowly avoided this treatment by agreeing to leave the village. It was a terrible price to pay. "My wife gone, my mum gone, ostracised by my village" he says. "I was left all alone in life."

Still, he carried on. The biggest mystery was what successful sanitary pads were made of. He had sent some off for laboratory analysis and reports came back that it was cotton, but his own cotton creations did not work. It was something he could only ask the multinational companies who produced sanitary products - but how? "It's like knocking on the door of Coke and saying, 'Can I ask you how your cola is manufactured?'"

Muruganantham wrote to the big manufacturing companies with the help of a college professor, whom he repaid by doing domestic work - he didn't speak much English at the time. He also spent almost 7,000 rupees (£70) on telephone calls - money he didn't have. "When I got through, they asked me what kind of plant I had," he says. "I didn't really understand what they meant."

In the end, he said he was a textile mill owner in Coimbatore who was thinking of moving into the business, and requested some samples. A few weeks later, mysterious hard boards appeared in the mail - cellulose, from the bark of a tree. It had taken two years and three months to discover what sanitary pads are made of, but there was a snag - the machine required to break this material down and turn it into pads cost many thousands of dollars. He would have to design his own.

Four-and-a-half years later, he succeeded in creating a low-cost method for the production of sanitary towels. The process involves four simple steps. First, a machine similar to a kitchen grinder breaks down the hard cellulose into fluffy material, which is packed into rectangular cakes with another machine.

The cakes are then wrapped in non-woven cloth and disinfected in an ultraviolet treatment unit. The whole process can be learned in an hour.

Muruganantham's goal was to create user-friendly technology. The mission was not just to increase the use of sanitary pads, but also to create jobs for rural women - women like his mother. Following her husband's death in a road accident, Muruganantham's mother had had to sell everything she owned and get a job as a farm labourer, but earning $1 a day wasn't enough to support four children. That's why, at the age of 14, Muruganantham had left school to find work.

The machines are kept deliberately simple and skeletal so that they can be maintained by the women themselves. "It looks like the Wright brothers' first flight," he says. The first model was mostly made of wood, and when he showed it to the Indian Institute of Technology, IIT, in Madras, scientists were sceptical - how was this man going to compete against multinationals?

But Muruganantham had confidence. As the son of a handloom worker, he had seen his father survive with a simple wooden handloom, despite 446 fully mechanised mills in the city. That gave him the courage to take on the big companies with his small machine made of wood - besides, his aim was not really to compete. "We are creating a new market, we are paving the way for them," he says.

Unbeknown to him, the IIT entered his machine in a competition for a national innovation award. Out of 943 entries, it came first. He was given the award by the then President of India, Pratibha Patil - quite an achievement for a school dropout. Suddenly he was in the limelight.

"It was instant glory, media flashing in my face, everything" he says. "The irony is, after five-and-a-half years I get a call on my mobile - the voice huskily says: Remember me?"

It was his wife, Shanthi. She was not entirely surprised by her husband's success. "Every time he comes to know something new, he wants to know everything about it," she says. "And then he wants to do something about it that nobody else has done before."

However, this kind of ambition was not easy to live with. Not only was she shocked by his interest in such a matter, but it took up all of his time and money - at the time, they hardly had enough money to eat properly. And her troubles were compounded by gossip.

"The hardest thing was when the villagers started talking and treating us really badly," she says. "There were rumours that he was having affairs with other women, and that was why he was doing such things." She decided to go back home to live with her mother.

After Shanthi, eventually Muruganantham's own mother and the rest of the villagers - who had all condemned, criticised and ostracised him - came round too.

Muruganantham seemed set for fame and fortune, but he was not interested in profit. "Imagine, I got patent rights to the only machine in the world to make low-cost sanitary napkins - a hot-cake product," he says. "Anyone with an MBA would immediately accumulate the maximum money. But I did not want to. Why? Because from childhood I know no human being died because of poverty - everything happens because of ignorance."

He believes that big business is parasitic, like a mosquito, whereas he prefers the lighter touch, like that of a butterfly. "A butterfly can suck honey from the flower without damaging it," he says.

There are still many taboos around menstruation in India. Women can't visit temples or public places, they're not allowed to cook or touch the water supply - essentially they are considered untouchable.

It took Muruganantham 18 months to build 250 machines, which he took out to the poorest and most underdeveloped states in Northern India - the so-called BIMARU or "sick" states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Here, women often have to walk for miles to fetch water, something they can't do when they are menstruating - so families suffer.

"My inner conscience said if I can crack it in Bihar, a very tough nut to crack, I can make it anywhere," says Muruganantham.

It was hard even to broach the subject in such a conservative society. "To speak to rural women, we need permission from the husband or father," he says. "We can only talk to them through a blanket."

There are also myths and fears surrounding the use of sanitary pads - that women who use them will go blind, for example, or will never get married. But slowly, village by village, there was cautious acceptance and over time the machines spread to 1,300 villages in 23 states.

In each case, it's the women who produce the sanitary pads who sell them directly to the customer. Shops are usually run by men, which can put women off. And when customers get them from women they know, they can also acquire important information on how to use them. Purchasers may not even need any money - many women barter for onions and potatoes.

While getting the message out to new areas of the country is still difficult, Muruganantham is sceptical about the effectiveness of TV advertising. "You always have a girl in white jeans, jumping over a wall," he says. "They never talk about hygiene."

Most of Muruganantham's clients are NGOs and women's self-help groups. A manual machine costs around 75,000 Indian rupees (£723) - a semi-automated machine costs more. Each machine converts 3,000 women to pads, and provides employment for 10 women. They can produce 200-250 pads a day which sell for an average of about 2.5 rupees (£0.025) each.

Women choose their own brand-name for their range of sanitary pads, so there is no over-arching brand - it is "by the women, for the women, and to the women".

Muruganantham also works with schools - 23% of girls drop out of education once they start menstruating. Now school girls make their own pads. "Why wait till they are women? Why not empower girls?"

The Indian government recently announced it would distribute subsidised sanitary products to poorer women. It was a blow for Muruganantham that it did not choose to work with him, but he now has his eyes on the wider world. "My aim was to create one million jobs for poor women - but why not 10 million jobs worldwide?" he asks. He is expanding to 106 countries across the globe, including Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, the Philippines, and Bangladesh.

"Our success is entirely down to word-of-mouth publicity," he says. "Because this is a problem all developing nations face."

Muruganantham now lives with his family in a modest apartment. He owns a jeep, "a rugged car that will take me to hillsides, jungles, forest", but has no desire to accumulate possessions. "I have accumulated no money but I accumulate a lot of happiness," he says. "If you get rich, you have an apartment with an extra bedroom - and then you die."

He prefers to spend his time talking to university and college students. He's an engaging and funny speaker, despite his idiosyncratic English. He says he is not working brain to brain but heart to heart.

"Luckily I'm not educated," he tells students. "If you act like an illiterate man, your learning will never stop... Being uneducated, you have no fear of the future."

His wife Shanthi agrees with him on this point. "If he had completed his education, he would be like any other guy, who works for someone else, who gets a daily wage," she says. "But because he did not complete school, he had the courage to come out to start a business of his own. Now he's employing other people."

Shanthi and Muruganantham are now a tight unit. "My wife, the business - it is not a separate thing, it is mixed up with our life," he says.

When a girl reaches puberty in their village, there is a ceremony - traditionally it meant that they were ready to marry. Shanthi always brings a sanitary pad as a gift and explains how to use it.

"Initially I used to be very shy when talking to people about it," she says. "But after all this time, people have started to open up. Now they come and talk to me, they ask questions and they also get sanitary napkins to try them. They have all changed a lot in the village."

Muruganantham says she does a wonderful job.

He was once asked whether receiving the award from the Indian president was the happiest moment of his life. He said no - his proudest moment came after he installed a machine in a remote village in Uttarakhand, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where for many generations nobody had earned enough to allow children to go to school.

A year later, he received a call from a woman in the village to say that her daughter had started school. "Where Nehru failed," he says, "one machine succeeded."

Arunachalam Muruganantham spoke to Outlook on the BBC World Service. Listen again on iPlayer or get the Outlook podcast.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Health/Medicine; Society
KEYWORDS: india; pad; sanitary; taboo; timeofmonth
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-56 next last
There's documentary film about him as well.

Menstural Man

1 posted on 03/04/2014 8:18:06 AM PST by csvset
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: csvset

I’m presuming the CEO of Tampax already has a hit out on him.


2 posted on 03/04/2014 8:21:37 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: csvset

When I temped at Kimberly-Clark in Wisconsin years ago, I recall they had a department (all men) who designed tampons, etc. They called them Sanitary Engineers.

Good for this guy.


3 posted on 03/04/2014 8:21:54 AM PST by rightwingintelligentsia (Democrats: The perfect party for the helpless and stupid, and those who would rule over them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: csvset
The Indian government recently announced it would distribute subsidised sanitary products to poorer women.

Which means nothing will happen and nothing will change.

4 posted on 03/04/2014 8:24:17 AM PST by PGR88
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rightwingintelligentsia

I saw another documentary about Communist Bulgaria where women were relating the horrors of taking care of their monthly needs under the Five Year Plan.

They’d have to queue up in long lines at the local pharmacy when a supply of pads finally arrived. Each woman got to buy one pack of ten.

Of course the central planners had not figured out that ten was not enough to get a typical woman through the month. So these women would don various disguises, re-enter the line and double-dip.

Getting their monthly supply was a full day’s work.


5 posted on 03/04/2014 8:27:38 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: csvset

A rags to riches story?


6 posted on 03/04/2014 8:28:22 AM PST by Uncle Miltie (Mohammed was a pedophile and Islam is a Totalitarian Death Cult.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: csvset
"A school dropout from a poor family in southern India has revolutionised menstrual health ..."

Why can't American companies export their products for females to India? Doesn't India allow American products into their country? Seems like this would be a large market.

7 posted on 03/04/2014 8:29:28 AM PST by StormEye
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Uncle Miltie

Post of the day!


8 posted on 03/04/2014 8:34:06 AM PST by Disambiguator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: csvset

9 posted on 03/04/2014 8:36:06 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Uncle Miltie

*snort*


10 posted on 03/04/2014 8:36:23 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Uncle Miltie

Is this article “cramping” your style? (yes... poor attempt at humor!)


11 posted on 03/04/2014 8:36:56 AM PST by momtothree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: StormEye
Why can't American companies export their products for females to India?

They do. The rural Indians cannot afford the price. The U.S. companies cannot afford to sell at the rural Indian price.
12 posted on 03/04/2014 8:40:11 AM PST by Dr. Sivana ("I'm a Contra" -- President Ronald Reagan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Uncle Miltie
Nah, a humble guy, didn't use it to pad his wallet. D'oh.

A little music maestro !

Rags To Riches

Since they make their own pads, iPad would be an awesome name, eh?

13 posted on 03/04/2014 8:43:20 AM PST by csvset
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: StormEye

Because they are too expensive for these women to buy. That’s what got the guy going in the first place, was the cost.


14 posted on 03/04/2014 8:44:12 AM PST by Excellence (All your database are belong to us.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: StormEye

Cost was a big factor. The Indian women can barely afford to feed their families. Buying sanitary napkins, especially those with the added cost of being transported, would mean trading food budget monies for sanitary napkins.


15 posted on 03/04/2014 8:45:53 AM PST by Black Agnes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Uncle Miltie

Lol, you should be a comedy writer :-)


16 posted on 03/04/2014 8:47:52 AM PST by Bobalu (Happiness is a fast ISR)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: csvset; Revolting cat!; Slings and Arrows
These results obviously could not be relied on. It was then that he decided to test the products on himself. "I became the man who wore a sanitary pad," he says.


17 posted on 03/04/2014 9:00:57 AM PST by a fool in paradise (The Texas judge's decision was to pave the way for same sex divorce for two Massachusetts women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Sivana; GeronL
The U.S. companies cannot afford to sell at the rural Indian price.

Outsource production to India. It works wonders for technical jobs.

18 posted on 03/04/2014 9:01:58 AM PST by a fool in paradise (The Texas judge's decision was to pave the way for same sex divorce for two Massachusetts women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: PGR88

Seems like the big players got scared and got the Indian government to help them. Which is how it is everywhere.


19 posted on 03/04/2014 9:02:31 AM PST by Defiant (Let the Tea Party win, and we will declare peace on the American people and go home.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Sivana

One roll of toilet paper goes for close to a day’s wage in rural India.


20 posted on 03/04/2014 9:02:34 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro
He fashioned a sanitary pad out of cotton and gave it to Shanthi, demanding immediate feedback. She said he'd have to wait for some time - only then did he realise that periods were monthly. "I can't wait a month for each feedback, it'll take two decades!" He needed more volunteers.

SCIENCE!!!


21 posted on 03/04/2014 9:05:16 AM PST by a fool in paradise (The Texas judge's decision was to pave the way for same sex divorce for two Massachusetts women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog
One roll of toilet paper goes for close to a day’s wage in rural India.

Yeah, but trust me, it's worth it!

22 posted on 03/04/2014 9:05:59 AM PST by a fool in paradise (The Texas judge's decision was to pave the way for same sex divorce for two Massachusetts women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: csvset

Thinking of the misery of these hundreds of millions of women is really a downer.


23 posted on 03/04/2014 9:06:29 AM PST by Tax-chick (I've forgotten most of those languages, but I remember the joke.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: csvset

I thought menstration was clear blue fluid. That’s what I see on TV.

I dated a granola treehugging chick for a while. I made her use organic pine cones. She finally left me after a while.


24 posted on 03/04/2014 9:10:04 AM PST by Organic Panic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham is someone certainly worthy of a Nobel Prize.


25 posted on 03/04/2014 9:10:45 AM PST by csvset
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Sivana

Store bought pads cost 4 rupees while those by Shanthi cost 2.5 rupees. Likely many cannot afford to pay 2.5 r.


26 posted on 03/04/2014 9:11:35 AM PST by OldMagazine (You can only do what you can do.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: csvset

He certainly deserves wealth and acclaim! Unnngh, the unspeakable yucky ickiness is just overwhelming. I’m constantly amazed at the circumstances under which people will survive. *shudder*


27 posted on 03/04/2014 9:12:04 AM PST by Tax-chick (I've forgotten most of those languages, but I remember the joke.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: a fool in paradise

DITTO


28 posted on 03/04/2014 9:14:49 AM PST by faucetman ( Just the facts, ma'am, Just the facts)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

Do you get the feeling that FReeper women are hugging their box of wings?!!!


29 posted on 03/04/2014 9:15:52 AM PST by momtothree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: momtothree

If I run out of Stayfree Super Maxi, I won’t care if the zombies get me.


30 posted on 03/04/2014 9:18:49 AM PST by Tax-chick (I've forgotten most of those languages, but I remember the joke.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: a fool in paradise
Outsource production to India. It works wonders for technical jobs.

Not worth their while for low markup commodity products.
31 posted on 03/04/2014 9:22:07 AM PST by Dr. Sivana ("I'm a Contra" -- President Ronald Reagan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

He has also opened himself to lawsuits if women experience health issues from his product.


32 posted on 03/04/2014 9:22:51 AM PST by a fool in paradise (The Texas judge's decision was to pave the way for same sex divorce for two Massachusetts women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Sivana

My understanding is that the Eastern European variety was made from tree bark (I wouldn’t know, I brought my own roll from home and never had to tip the restroom monitors for a sheet).


33 posted on 03/04/2014 9:24:05 AM PST by a fool in paradise (The Texas judge's decision was to pave the way for same sex divorce for two Massachusetts women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: csvset

He realized that women menstruate only monthly AFTER he was married? Egad.


34 posted on 03/04/2014 9:24:16 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Truth sounds like hate...to those who hate truth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: csvset

bkmk


35 posted on 03/04/2014 9:29:21 AM PST by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: a fool in paradise

How would they know? They’ve already got chronic infections and all sorts of other yuck from reusing piles of sand in place of sanitary pads.


36 posted on 03/04/2014 9:30:01 AM PST by Tax-chick (I've forgotten most of those languages, but I remember the joke.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: csvset
Since they make their own pads, iPad would be an awesome name, eh?


37 posted on 03/04/2014 9:30:54 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Truth sounds like hate...to those who hate truth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: OldMagazine

The 2.5 rupees is still expensive, no doubt, but the article said some people barter for the pads. Perhaps the increase in productivity the women will experience, in being able to go out and do things during their period, and in having fewer infections, will increase their prosperity.
Also, perhaps the status of women will go up a little bit, as people realize that that a woman’s comfort and health might be worth a bit of extra money and effort.


38 posted on 03/04/2014 9:36:47 AM PST by married21 ( As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Kartographer; Diana in Wisconsin; Georgia Girl 2
Sanitation DIY-er/go-Galt/whatever ping. Surprisingly interesting account of what happened, too.

"The biggest mystery was what successful sanitary pads were made of...A few weeks later, mysterious hard boards appeared in the mail - cellulose, from the bark of a tree. It had taken two years and three months to discover what sanitary pads are made of,..."


39 posted on 03/04/2014 9:46:07 AM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

I am actually surprised that so many male freepers commented on this thread. I figured they would try IMMEDIATELY to find a thread about fishing, hunting, Nascar, tree cutting, power saws etc.. :)


40 posted on 03/04/2014 9:49:38 AM PST by momtothree
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: a fool in paradise
"He has also opened himself to lawsuits if women experience health issues from his product."

"The cakes are then wrapped in non-woven cloth and disinfected in an ultraviolet treatment unit."

Maybe they're safer for women than tampons, and printing instructions and warnings on tampon packages isn't enough. And maybe the litigation/regulation regime is running out of stolen time.


41 posted on 03/04/2014 9:58:41 AM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: momtothree

It’s a gross, yet technical, topic.

Maybe the polysyllabic gentleman will come up with disposable diapers next.


42 posted on 03/04/2014 10:03:27 AM PST by Tax-chick (I've forgotten most of those languages, but I remember the joke.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog

nope they weren’t being bought by these women in the first place. this wasn’t and still isn’t a market for tampax.


43 posted on 03/04/2014 10:09:00 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: momtothree
"I am actually surprised that so many male freepers commented on this thread. I figured they would try IMMEDIATELY to find a thread about fishing, hunting, Nascar, tree cutting, power saws etc.. :)"

I don't know about most other men, but many analytical technical minds see the posted article as being related to that list of pursuits (technologies, inventions, cutting costs, production). Granted, some men only see morbid humor in it, but this is one of many topics of great societal importance.

You see, quite a few things are being invented and modified in our western culture countries now in efforts to stop the slide toward slavery (low cost, low tech. home energy systems, food production, construction, repairs, transportation, modifications,...). There are too many anti-competition regulations and policies. Much of the middle class has already fallen from employment, and generally, we're not manufacturing enough on our own soil to support much of the remainder (see debts, spending, likely bond collapses, etc.).


44 posted on 03/04/2014 10:13:10 AM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of corruption smelled around the planet.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: familyop

The other point that should become obvious to any preppers in the crowd is that this is a need for every woman in your home.


45 posted on 03/04/2014 10:59:25 AM PST by Pecos (The Chicago Way: Kill the Constitution, one step at a time.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: Pecos

Cloths can be used ... were used for most of history. (I was told by American Indians in Oklahoma that they traditionally used cattail fluff to make a type of disposable diaper-stuffing. I wonder if they made something similar for menstrual use.)

There is a confluence of negative factors in the situation described in India. Poverty and low technology, yes, but also a cultural effort to entirely hide women’s menstruation from general knowledge, as part of a more general rock-bottom status of women. (The inventor didn’t know such a thing existed until he got married!)

The difficulty of accessing water seems to be complicated by an effort to restrain and isolate women. They can’t hang the cloths to dry, because that would be admitting they exist!

Under other circumstances, the use of absorbent cloths for menstruation is uncomplicated. From a practical standpoint, it’s just like using cloth diapers, but not as smelly. Rinse out, soak, scrub and bleach (if possible, not essential), and dry in the sun.


46 posted on 03/04/2014 11:20:56 AM PST by Tax-chick (I've forgotten most of those languages, but I remember the joke.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Pecos

Also, if you lose enough weight, you get amenorrhea and the problem goes away.


47 posted on 03/04/2014 11:22:21 AM PST by Tax-chick (I've forgotten most of those languages, but I remember the joke.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog

“One roll of toilet paper goes for close to a day’s wage in rural India.”

What, are they socialists?

“The Constitution of India, which came into effect on 26 January 1950, states in its preamble that India is a sovereign, socialist...”

Well, duh.


48 posted on 03/04/2014 11:28:16 AM PST by Moose Burger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: csvset

he probably had to pull some strings to get government approval


49 posted on 03/04/2014 12:33:53 PM PST by TheRightGuy (I want MY BAILOUT ... a billion or two should do!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

at the turn of the 20th century, women in the US still used rags, rewashed and reused. When I was a young gal, the saying for having a period was still....she’s on the rag...God bless Kotex the first as far as I know. Thick pads and you held them in place with a belt.Circ: 1940...


50 posted on 03/04/2014 8:49:04 PM PST by goat granny (.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-56 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson