Period Piece

Billions of tampons clog U.S. landfills, and 170,000 applicators wash up on shores each year. And last year, distributor Kimberly- Clark recalled Kotex tampons in eight states after discovering they were contaminated with dangerous bacteria. Unsatisfied with tampons’ iffy safety records and their environmental impact, many women are opting for a third, eco-friendly alternative: the menstrual cup. First launched in the 1930s, the DivaCup ( resurrected the half-dollar-sized device in 2003, making it in more comfy, allergen-free silicone. “Menstrual cups are easier on the environment and you’re avoiding the bleach, dioxins and other compounds often contained in tampons and pads,” says Phoenixbased environmental medicine specialist Marianne Marchese, N.D. The downside, she notes, is the lack of research on how cups compare safety-wise to products that are changed more frequently. Check with your doctor before trying them if you have a history of abnormal pap smears or use an intrauterine device