August 10, 2012

Toxic ingredients in tampons?

Today I was on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website (which is a collaborative effort of more than 100 non-profit organizations working to protect the health of consumers and workers alike by trying to eliminate the use of dangerous chemicals found in many cosmetics and personal case products).

I found out that even tampons can pose a risk to our health. I am shocked! :/ And saddened, too! They have an article called Cumulative Exposure And Feminine Care Products (here's the same article in PDF form for easier reading) in which they present "facts" regarding the safety of tampons.

There is a possibility that "tampons may contain traces of dioxin from bleach, pesticide residues from conventional, non-organic cotton, and mystery “fragrance” ingredients." Shocking, right? I don't think they are trying to "scare" us to be honest. I think they're just putting it out there so we can have an idea of what's going on with tampons, in this case.

Personally, I use tampons almost every month, the brand I like and use is o.b. I just went to their FAQ page and they state that "Production of o.b.® tampons involves only "elemental chlorine-free" bleaching processes, which do not cause the production of dioxins. State-of-the-art testing of tampon fibers that can detect even trace amounts of dioxin has shown that dioxin levels are at or below the detectable limits, posing no risk to tampon users' health." Huh, what does that mean? Elemental chlorine-free bleaching?

But Campaign for Safe Cosmetics says that even trace levels are concerning because dioxins are cancer-causing agents; can disrupt the hormone system; have been linked to endometriosis; and can affect the body at very low levels. They also say that tampons come in contact with some of the most sensitive and absorbent tissue in our bodies. 

Regarding the presence of pesticides in tampons, they write: Are there traces of pesticides in tampons? We don’t know, because the FDA does not require companies to test for harmful chemicals or to disclose their presence. The FDA just recommends that tampons be free of pesticide and herbicide residues.

The third possible culprit is fragrance. According to Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, fragrance may contain allergens, sensitizers, phthalates (a class of chemicals that has been linked to hormone disruption, which can affect development and fertility), neurotoxins and synthetic musks.

So to recap, there are three possible culprits. Dioxin(s) from the bleaching, pesticide residue from the cotton used (yuck!) and fragrance (which I think is a bundle of substances/ingredients & we can never know what it's truly made of). That's truly worrying. I would like my tampons to have organic cotton at least; that would be a bit better.

I knew that tampons already pose a risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome (which of course can be prevented with proper use of the tampon) but now I find out they could be toxic and unsafe? What do you think, what are your thoughts on this matter?

I haven't done further research so excuse me for not knowing more on this. 

1 comment :

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