Most sanitary pads and tampons are bleached with chlorine. It’s well-known this can cause the formation of dioxins.
These chemicals are by products of the manufacturing process. They are highly toxic and likely carcinogenic.
In 1999, House Representative Carolyn Maloney, who represents New York’s 12th Congressional District, filed legislation seeking to uncover, through medical research, whether the presence of dioxin and other added ingredients in these products posed a threat to women’s health. This became known as the Tampon Safety and Research Act of 1999.
Unfortunately, though, this bill was sent to committee, where it died. So women still use these products with no clear information about the potential risks.
Sanitary Pads and Cancer
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Dioxin is among the “Dirty Dozen” list of toxic chemicals compiled by the World Health Organization. There’s no disputing that these compounds dangerous. Nor is there any doubt that they’re often present, in varying degrees, in bleached paper products, including sanitary pads and tampons.
The question is if whether the levels women are exposed to are dangerous. The US Environmental Protection Agency tells us not to worry. The main source of dioxins, according to the EPA, is in our food supply.
However, this hasn’t quelled the growing concerns that dioxin is still a issue. Our skin is highly absorbent, and the chemicals found in pads and tampons will enter our bloodstream. In addition to the problem of dioxins, manufacturers add various chemicals designed for odor control and absorbency.
Where to Find Organic Tampons
Given the fact there are no clear answers, and that various alternative health experts, such as Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO, have sounded the alarm, in my house I’ve decided to play it safer. So I ordered my teenage daughter unbleached organic cotton tampons.
The cotton used to make these products is another concern. That’s because cotton is sprayed with a lot of pesticides. In fact, worldwide, about 10 percent of chemical pesticide use is on cotton crops. These chemicals will also wind up in your bloodstream.
Once I became aware of this, it seemed foolish not to spend a little extra money on organic cotton tampons, which aren’t bleached or made from material sprayed with pesticides.
I’m so grateful to have discovered this information while my daughter was a teenager, so she won’t be exposed to the same toxins I was, throughout my life. Dioxins are known to accumulate in the body. I can’t help but wonder if years of using bleached sanitary products contributed to my own health problems, which have included infertility and multiple miscarriages.
Later, I developed a painful, incurable nerve condition. In my effort to regain my health, I’ve overhauled my lifestyle. This has included cleaning up my diet, as well as my personal care items. Eating organic food and reducing environmental toxins has made a huge difference.
Although I’m not a medical expert, and I can’t give medical advice, it seems as if we can’t blindly trust the regulatory agencies, charged with protecting us from potentially dangerous products. We have to research these issues ourselves, with an open mind. This may involve looking for answers outside the mainstream medical system, closely aligned with the pharmaceutical industry. Both groups stand to profit from sickness.
Tampons vs Menstrual Cup
You should know there is also concern that tampons, even organic ones, may increase the risk of infertility and endometriosis. Although this link is far from definitive, some medical experts are telling women to avoid them altogether. The theory behind this thinking is that tampons prevent easy elimination of blood tissue. This, in turn, causes it to migrate to other areas of the pelvis.
Gaining in popularity are reusable menstrual cups, which can be left in place for 12 hours. My daughter decided to switch to using one of these. Since then, she’s noticed a reduction in cramps. So maybe there is something to this theory.
Once you get used to them, these cups seem easy enough to use. Be aware that they come in different sizes. One is designed for younger women who’ve never had a baby. The other size is made for women who’ve had children, or are older.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. People with health concerns should discuss them with a doctor.
I’m not a healthcare professional, so all of the above statements are my personal opinions and experiences, and are not intended as medical advice.