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Graduate’s hygiene kit could ‘make a difference’ to women all over the world

Erin Reid started LU Innovations after being ‘infuriated’ with the lack of hygiene products for women in the outdoors (LU Innovations/PA)
Erin Reid started LU Innovations after being ‘infuriated’ with the lack of hygiene products for women in the outdoors (LU Innovations/PA)

An outdoor enthusiast has designed a new kit that aims to reduce the risk of infection and toxic shock syndrome for women in remote locations.

Erin Reid, 25, was “infuriated” at the lack of products and support for women when they have their periods in remote locations.

Women in remote locations, including adventurers, and armed forces personnel, can be at risk from urinary tract infections (UTIs), toxic shock, or infertility because of poor hygiene caused by such remote environments, where there is no access to toilets, handwashing facilities, or places to dispose of used sanitary products.

The Edinburgh Napier University graduate used that as the inspiration to develop her LU Innovations menstrual hygiene kit, which could “make a difference in the lives of women around the world”.

It includes a reusable menstrual cup, a sanitation system to clean it on the go, and an applicator, which can be used to apply it without the need for clean hands.

The new product is being developed with support from Converge, which helps universities and research institutes bring forward new products for sale.

Ms Reid said: “I love being outdoors, especially cycling, hillwalking, and my time with the University Officer Training Corps, but I’ve always been infuriated by the lack of products, solutions, and education for women who have their periods in remote environments.”

However she said that coming up with the idea for LU “was only the start of the journey” describing the help she received from Converge as being “essential”.

She said: “Our adventures shouldn’t stop just because our periods start, and the support that I’ve received from Converge will be essential in helping adventurers to continue enjoying the outdoors, even when they’re in remote locations during their periods.

“I can’t wait to start selling my first product, which will mean women can continue enjoying the outdoors because they’ll have their own LU to hand even if there’s not a proper loo around when they have their period.”

LU Innovations is currently working with Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen to further develop product design, with experts from the Medical Device Manufacturing Centre at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh advising on relevant healthcare standards.

It comes after the company won last year’s Converge Create Change Challenge, as well the Rose Award prize sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland to help women starting a  businesses.

Ms Reid is now seeking to raise £200,000 in seed funding for her company, and also bring on board a business partner and a non-executive director to help it grow.

Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo, executive director of Converge, said: “Erin Reid and her LU Innovations are great examples of the drive that lies at the heart of Converge, to give everyone the chance to solve a problem, no matter their background or gender.

“Erin spotted a problem that she wanted to fix and teaming up with Converge and our university partners will help her to make a difference in the lives of women around the world.”