The average woman, menstruating for five days a month for 38 years will use approximately 11,400 tampons in a lifetime. With around 73 million menstruating women in America, the toxicity levels of commercial brand tampons is not just a personal concern but a concern that affects all menstruating women.
“Welcome this new day for womanhood,” Tampax Inc. announces on July 26, 1936, in its very first mass-market ad. “Our only interest is in protecting you”, stated a Tampax ad in 1972. Tambrands Inc.is the leading manufacturer of tampons, cornering 55 per cent of an astonishing $718 million market.
Not that long ago an event happened that should have forever ended the tampon industry’s code of silence. In 1980, 38 women died of tampon-related toxic shock syndrome, an event that might have been prevented were industry practices more carefully monitored.
What is really in those tampons.
Tampons contain two things that are harmful: Rayon for absorbency, and dioxin, a chemical used in bleaching the products.
The tampon industry is convinced that women need bleached white products in order to view the product as pure and clean. The problem here is that the dioxin produced in this bleaching process leads to very harmful problems for a woman. Dioxin is carcinogenic, associated with cancer, and is toxic to the immune and reproductive systems. Dioxin has also been linked to endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and lower sperm counts for men. In a 2005 study, levels of dioxin were found in seven brands of tampons.
In September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that there really is no set “acceptable” level of exposure to dioxin given that it is cumulative and slow to disintegrate. “The real danger comes from repeated contact”, states Karen Couppert, author of “Pulling the Plug on the Tampon Industry“. If you do the math, using about 4-5 tampons a day, five days a month, for 38 menstruating years is most definitely “repeated contact”.
Rayon contributes to the danger of tampons and dioxin because it is a highly absorbent substance. Therefore, when fibers from the tampons are left behind in the vagina, which usually occurs in most cases, it creates a breeding ground for the dioxin. It also stays in a lot longer than it would with just plain organic cotton tampons. This is also the reason why toxic shock syndrome (TSS) occurs.
There has even been reports of mold growing on unused tampons!
What are the alternatives?
Using feminine hygiene products that aren’t bleached and that are all natural organic cotton if you have to use a tampon. Other feminine hygiene products such as pads/napkins, contain dioxin as well, but they are not nearly as dangerous since they are not in direct contact with the vagina. Unfortunately, there are very few companies that make these safe tampons. They are usually only found in health food stores.
Countries all over the world (Sweden, Germany, British Columbia, etc.) have demanded a switch to this safer tampon, while the U.S. has decided to keep us in the dark about it. In 1989, activists in England mounted a campaign against chlorine bleaching. Six weeks and 50,000 letters later, the makers of sanitary products switched to oxygen bleaching which is one of the green methods available.
Your best option, in my belief, is a reusable menstrual cups. These alternatives are much more economical and are about a million times safer for the environment, and you! Some brands of menstrual cups are: ‘DivaCup,’ ‘MoonCup,’ ‘Ladycup’ and ‘Lunette,’ among many others.
There is also reusable pads as well. Reusable pads are made with safe breathable materials to keep your area healthy, and leak free! Some brands that are available today are: ‘Luna Pads,’ ‘Glad Rags,’ ‘Pleasure Puss’ and you can also make your own.
Hopefully this article opened up your eyes to the health risks with using tampons, and made you reconsider what products that you are using. There are many websites that provide information with reviews on all of these natural, organic products that will help you research and find what’s best suited for you and your lifestyle.
Source: – Organic Health
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