Prof. Chandrasekhar Sharma, faculty of chemical engineering department at the IITH, and his team of students developed the sanitary napkins without using super absorbent polymers (SAP), to ensure that women do not face any side-effects when using these nanofiber-based sanitary napkins.
“Menstrual hygiene is an important issue for every woman, as poor menstrual hygiene increases the vulnerability towards reproductive tract infections," says Prof. Sharma. "Sanitary napkins are the most commonly used disposable absorbent hygiene products by women. However, there are some harmful chemicals present in the commercially available sanitary napkins at present, like super absorbent polymers, that are petroleum-based products. As these products can cause health problems to women, we have decided to come up with a safe alternative."
Electrospun cellulose acetate (CA) nanofibres were used by the team as a material for absorbent core in these sanitary napkins. These pads eliminate the use of non-biodegradable super absorbent polymers which are used in commercially available sanitary napkins at present, without compromising the performance, with more enhanced absorbency and comfort, the report says.
“Nanofiber-based feminine hygiene products provide a safe alternative to female hygiene as prolonged use of commercially available products may lead to toxic shock syndrome and ovarian cancer," Prof. Sharma says. "The main focus of this work is to minimize the use of SAPs in products. For this, we intend to fabricate cellulose-based nanofibres and suggest their use as absorbent core."