I am quite pleased that this post is one of the most read on this site. It still shocks me the stuff that is allowed in tampons!
I know this topic might be a little too much info for the menfolk out there, but after learning this, I had to share. It is alarming, and disgusting!
Tampons have traditionally been made of cotton, but in the 1970s synthetic rayon was added to create a more absorbent product. Tampons had been around for 40 years before adding rayon, and suddenly TSS (toxic shock syndrome) appeared.
The cotton used for tampons is the “leftover” stuff-stems, leaves, and other fibers called gin trash. Cotton is typically sprayed with the most toxic (class I and II) pesticides, many of which are known carcinogens. The gin trash has concentrated levels of pesticides and is illegal to feed to cattle in many states! Instead, it is used to make tampons.
Tampons are then bleached with chlorine which releases detectable residues of dioxins. Dioxins have been shown to cause not only cancer, but endometriosis and fertility problems as well. Studies in recent years have shown the exposure amount of dioxins directly effects the severity of endometriosis.
The EPA just released its updated findings on dioxins this week. The full report is here. This is a big step forward in acknowledging and hopefully eliminating harmful dioxins in bleached products such as tampons.
I really had never thought about tampons, until I read about this information in the book Easy Green Living by Renee Loux. As a swim instructor, there are certain times of the month when a pad is just not a choice. After reading this information, and the fact that I’ve had surgery for endometriosis and had fertility issues, I will never use a conventional tampon again.
I used a Diva Cup for awhile, and it did take some getting used to, and then was no problem. I got out of the habit of using it, and began using organic cotton chlorine-free tampons when I’m in the water. The sad thing is, your typical grocery or drugstore will not carry an organic cotton or chlorine-free brand. You will either need to go to a store with natural products like Whole Foods and pay a pretty penny, or buy on Amazon.
What is your reaction? Is this news to you, or have you been using alternatives to conventional tampons? Leave a comment below.