How Climate Change, Poverty, and Social Stigma Affect Menstrual Hygiene

Approximately 800 million people are menstruating each day, and climate change greatly impacts period products and the people who need them.

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Source: Marco Verch


What's your favorite menstrual product?

In recent years, millennials and Gen-Zers have increasingly raised concerns over the environmental impact of disposable tampons and pads, and brands have stepped up with a variety of reusable alternatives. But running parallel to this issue is a very concerning combination of period poverty, stigma around menstruation, and health and human rights issues, and different communities see these problems play out in different ways. And surprisingly, climate change threatens to exacerbate all of that. In the spirit of Christmas, Ethan is gifting hosting duties to Sweaty Penguin Producers Maddy Schmidt and Shannon Damiano for this episode. They’ll explore a bit about menstrual product sustainability, break down how economics, social stigma, and climate change affect menstrual hygiene, and consider where we go from here. With special guest Raffaella Villa: Professor of Environmental Bioengineering at De Montfort University.

The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at

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Writers: Maddy Schmidt, Shannon Damiano, Megan Crimmins, Ethan Brown

Fact Checker: Hallie Cordingley

Editor: Ethan Brown

Producers: Ethan Brown, Megan Crimmins, Shannon Damiano, Maddy Schmidt

Ad Voiceover: Madeleine Salman

Music: Brett Sawka

The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the host and guests. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Peril and Promise or The WNET Group.

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The Sweaty Penguin
The Sweaty Penguin is a digital news source and podcast aiming to make environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun.


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