Sanitary napkins are used by women when they menstruate. These napkins absorb the blood discharge without leaking for a specific number of hours. They are meant for a single-time use only, after which they have to be disposed of. They are not reusable.
Sanitary napkins play a critical role in women’s lives. Though they cannot reduce the pain that comes with menstruation they can certainly reduce the inconveniences associated with vaginal discharge. Quintessential for women, sanitary napkins need 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 the 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 an absorbent filler like cellulose pulp, cellulose wadding, tissues and cotton. These filters are tested to ensure that they do not contain lumps, oil spots, dirt and foreign contaminants.
The covering of the absorbent fillers is the material that allows the discharge to flow into it. It has to be porous. Mostly materials like cotton, gauze and non-woven fabrics are used for making the coverings. They should also be clean and hygienic.
All women do not require the same sized sanitary napkins. Women who are tall and broad require bigger napkins whereas petite women require smaller ones. 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 width. For testing the pad sizes; 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 pad 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 at 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 can soak adequately without leaking, they are accepted to be good.
Sanitary napkins should be made from disposable materials. For that, they are put in a container of 15 litres 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 fulfil their purpose without leaking and without causing any discomfort or irritation.