The first toilet paper was made in China in the 14th century, but it was only used by the emperor. The first “modern” toilet paper was developed in England in 1850. Its industrial success began a few years later in 1857 in the United States.
Today, toilet paper is found in every household in industrialized countries. The global market for toilet and household paper was worth USD 64 billion in 2019. On average, each US consumes 28 pounds per year.
However, this invention, which is so convenient to our daily personal hygiene, has many harmful effects that we are often unaware of.
Many organizations (such as the World Wildlife Fund) condemn the use of toilet paper that is actually made directly from virgin fiber (from recently cut trees). It is estimated that more than 26,000 trees are cut down per day worldwide!
In addition, toilet paper flushed down the drain increases the amount of organic matter that needs to be treated in wastewater treatment plants, which in turn requires the use of more chemicals.
Negative Health impacts
Yes, even toilet paper can harm your health! We are offered a wide range of toilet papers – from plain white to scented, colored, recycled, patterned, super absorbent, etc. And all these criteria need more chemicals which, in combination with mechanical friction, can cause mucous membrane sensitization, irritation, micro tears, cracks, and other poisonings and allergies.
Recycled toilet paper
Recycled toilet paper is mostly office documents that have gone to waste and still contain inks containing bisphenol A, a known endocrine disruptor.
Scented toilet paper
Most industrial fragrances are petrochemicals containing benzenes and other phthalates. These are toxic to your genitals, where they can enter your bloodstream and cause allergies.
White toilet paper
Very white toilet paper is mostly bleached with chlorine. Chlorine irritates mucous membranes and repeated and prolonged exposure to chlorine causes skin problems and inflammation.
Extra absorbent toilet paper
Super absorbent toilet paper is likely to contain formaldehyde, a compound that improves the quality of the paper but is still classified as a human carcinogen.
Water is a much better alternative
The invention of the bidet in France led to a temporary change in practice, which eventually disappeared in favor of paper. In Japan, almost all toilets have a water jet in the sink. Pressurized water jets (flexible hose) are also widely used in most countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in South-East Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, where they are generally considered to be more hygienic than toilet paper.
This water jet is, after all, just a modern version of the traditional way of washing, where you hold a jug (or bottle) of water in one hand while washing with the other.
Choosing a bidet shower (toilet shower)
You will realize that a lot of people use water instead of toilet paper. If you cannot install an old school bidet, a handheld one is still the simplest and most practical solution for intimate hygiene, and there are many advantages to using one:
- Less aggressive on the anal mucosa, less irritating.
- Guarantees true cleanliness that does not harm your health: no risk of infection because everything is cleaned properly, whether it is feces, menstrual blood, or urine.
- It is said to have good properties in the fight against constipation and even hemorrhoids.
Choosing chemical-free toilet paper
100% bamboo paper from FSC certified sustainable bamboo forests is available. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, antifungal, odor-resistant, and hypoallergenic. This paper is softer on the skin and, unlike recycled fabrics, contains no softeners, BPA, chlorine, fragrances, pesticides, GMOs, and formaldehyde.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share your thoughts with the Gilmore Health community by leaving your comments below!