Sanitary napkins are used by women when they menstruate. These napkins absorb the blood discharge without leaking for specific number of hours. They are meant for use for only one time, after which they have to be disposed. They are not reusable.
Sanitary napkins play a critical role in women’s lives today. Though they cannot reduce the pain that comes with menstruation but they certainly reduce the inconveniences associated with vaginal discharge. Quintessential for women, sanitary napkins have to be of superlative quality, so that they don’t have to deal with leakages and discomfort.
For ensuring good quality of sanitary napkins, strict specifications have been formulated by Bureau of Indian Standards. IS 5405 has detailed descriptions of the norms and regulations that the sanitary napkin manufacturers have to adhere to.
Every sanitary napkin has absorbent fillers like cellulose pulp, cellulose wadding, tissues and cotton. These fillers are tested to ensure that they contain lump, oil spots, dirt and foreign contaminant.
The covering of the absorbent fillers are the materials that allow the discharge to flow into it. It has to be porous. Mostly materials like cotton sleeving, gauze and non woven fabrics are used for making the coverings. They should also be clean and hygienic.
All women do not require same sized sanitary napkins. Women who are tall and broad require bigger napkins whereas petite women require smaller. Those who experience heavy flow require larger pads than others. So there are 3 size variants for sanitary napkins, regular, large and extra large. For each size there are specific dimensions like length, breadth and widths. For testing the sizes of pads a sample of 10 pads of one size are measured and their average is calculated. If the dimensions adhere to those prescribed under IS 5405 then the pads are deemed fit for use, otherwise they are rejected.
Sanitary napkins should have a smooth surface and there should not be any wrinkles and folds which make the surface uneven. The surface of the pads should feel soft and comfortable and should not cause any irritation to the skin. The adhesive used to assemble the pad should be used carefully to stick only the correct points. The absorbent fillers should be placed at even distances to make the surface of the pad smooth.
Tests are conducted on absorbents by subjecting them to liquids. If they are able to soak adequately without leaking, they are accepted to be good for use.
Sanitary napkins should be made from materials which are disposable. For that they are put in a container of 15 liters of water and are stirred. Disposable pads get disintegrated when they are subjected to the test.
Sanitary napkins should have neutral pH values; they should neither be acidic nor alkaline. For that they are tested to determine their pH value.
Testing sanitary napkins on these parameters according to IS 5405 can ensure they fulfill their purpose without leaking and without causing any discomfort or irritation.