In The Red: A private economic cost and qualitative analysis of environmental and health implications for five menstrual products
Almost all women menstruate at some point in their lives, and as such there is a large and constant market for menstrual products. The objective of this research is to collect and present existing data about the impact of menstrual products and to identify research gaps. This project will explore the explicit cost differences between five menstrual products, as well as the externality costs on environment and health associated with each menstrual product. A private cost analysis of five menstrual products was conducted, directly comparing the cost to a woman using a single product for one, five and ten years of menstruation. A qualitative unpriced input description was then offered for each menstrual product, and a meta-analysis of external costs related to environment, resource and health were gathered. This data was analyzed by directly comparing the private costs and the externality costs of each product. The most economical menstrual products for a temporal lens of one menstrual cycle, one year and five years or more, are tampons without applicators, sea sponge and the reusable menstrual cup respectively. The environmental externalities of product raw materials show that for a temporal scale of one unit and one cycle or longer, the products with the least environmental effect are the tampon without applicator and the reusable menstrual cup respectively. The health externalities of each product show there to be no researched negative impacts from menstrual cups, one researched negative impact from the sea sponge, and four researched negative impacts from tampons. This project identified a range of research, most notably the lack of costbenefit analysis or lifecycle analysis of menstrual products, and the dated health research.