A natural sea sponge (dried) used to catch menstrual blood, much like a tampon. Sponges are usually cut to be about 5-7 cm in diameter and inserted in to the vagina. They should be changed every four hours, and rinsed and dried before re-use, and boiled in a water and vinegar solution between cycles. Sea sponges have not been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome, probably because they are not as dangerously absorbent as rayon tampons, nor do they contain any dioxins from bleach - at least, no more than anything else in the food chain, ourselves included.

Sponges are a little inconvenient - you have to rinse them out and boil them once a month - but they're better for you and if you're at all concerned about the environment, just think how many tonnes of tampon boxes, tampons, and applicators you're keeping out of landfills. Other enviromentally sound alternatives that're somewhat less inconvenient are the keeper, or lunapads, or homemade pads.

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