India-based researchers Krishnashree Achuthan, Sharanya Muthupalani, Vysakh Kani Kolil, Anju Bist, Krishna Sreesuthan & Aswathy Sreedevi have published the results of their study: A Novel Banana Fiber Pad for Menstrual Hygiene in India: A Feasibility and Acceptability Study, 21 BMC Women’s Health (2021). Here is a brief excerpt:
Menstrual hygiene products used by women have evolved in the past several decades with comfort, ease of use and cost driving women’s choices. In a country like India, where women form nearly 50% of the population, the sheer volume of periodic menstrual non-biodegradable waste generated has significant environmental implications. With majority of the country hailing from low-middle class backgrounds, observing healthy menstrual hygiene practices with environmentally friendly products necessitates the consideration of affordable and highly sustainable alternatives. Further, during the COVID-19 pandemic, period poverty is higher than ever, causing women to turn to the reusable product market for affordable and long lasting alternatives. Hence, we studied the Feasibility and Acceptability (FA) of a novel banana fiber based menstrual pad (BFP) amongst women living in rural and urban environments. * * *
The results indicated high levels of feasibility (rural =82.2%, urban =80.3% and acceptability (rural =80.2%, urban =77.5%) of BFPs across both participant groups. Comparing key BFP characteristics such as leakage and comfort to participants’ prior practices revealed general satisfaction…leading to them recommending BFPs to others. User perception on the reasons for their preference of BFP highlighted their concern for environment, health and cost as decisive factors. * * *
Based on feasibility and acceptability results, BFP is a promising consideration as an environmentally sound, non-invasive; yet reusable alternative to fulfill MHM needs in populous countries such as India. Longer term studies in larger samples are necessary to validate these findings.
The full paper is available here (open access–hurrah!).
Although I don’t think these pads will make the cross-over to the U.S. market any time soon, I am encouraged to learn about this study. If U.S. consumers demand safer, more environmentally friendly products, the market can respond.