For generations, women have been using conventional tampons for their menstrual cycles. Although they are an easy and convenient option, recent research indicates they can pose a serious health risk to women. Conventional tampons can be toxic and dangerous because of the use of harmful chemicals in manufacturing. In this article, we will explore why conventional tampons are unsafe and what alternative options are available for women to protect their health.
The Problem with Conventional Tampons:
Conventional tampons are made of cotton, rayon, or a combination of these materials. The manufacturing process involves treating these materials with chemicals like chlorine dioxide, which whitens the cotton. Unfortunately, this chemical can produce dioxins, a group of highly toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and other health problems.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dioxins are one of the most toxic chemicals known to science. These chemicals can accumulate in the body over time, linked to reproductive and developmental problems, immune system damage, and hormonal imbalances.
As a result, the FDA has set limits for the number of dioxins allowed in tampons. However, these limits are not well enforced, and manufacturers are not required to disclose the number of dioxins in their products.
Some women may have allergic reactions to the synthetic materials or chemicals used in conventional tampons. These reactions can lead to irritation, itching, and swelling in the vaginal area. Allergic reactions can be uncomfortable and can cause discomfort and pain during the menstrual cycle. It is important to note that allergic reactions can vary in severity and range from mild itching to more severe inflammation.
One common allergen found in conventional tampons is latex. Women allergic to latex may experience discomfort and swelling in the vaginal area when using tampons made with this material. Additionally, the chemicals used to bleach and scent conventional tampons can cause allergic reactions in some women. It is essential to read any tampon product’s packaging and ingredients list to understand its composition and potential allergens.
The synthetic materials and chemicals used in conventional tampons can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance, leading to irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, and other health problems. Some of the chemicals used in conventional tampons can mimic estrogen, a female hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle. When these chemicals enter the body, they can interfere with the natural hormone levels and lead to hormonal imbalances.
Hormonal disruption can lead to various health problems, including irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, and reproductive problems. The long-term effects of hormonal disruption are not well studied, but it is important to note that exposure to these chemicals can have lasting effects on a woman’s health.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS):
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but life-threatening condition that can be caused by using conventional tampons. TSS is caused by a toxin produced by certain types of bacteria, and symptoms can include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and organ failure. Although TSS is rare, women need to be aware of the risks and take precautions to reduce their risk of developing the condition.
Thankfully, there are safer alternatives to conventional tampons. Manufacturers make organic cotton tampons without harmful chemicals and ensure they are free from pesticides and other toxins. Unlike conventional tampons, they do not treat organic cotton tampons with chlorine dioxide, making them a safer option. They are also biodegradable, making them better for the environment.
Menstrual cups are also a popular alternative to conventional tampons. These cups are made of medical-grade silicone or latex and can be reused for several years. They are easy to clean and can be a more sustainable option. Although menstrual cups have a learning curve, they can be more comfortable than tampons, especially for women with sensitive skin.
Reusable cloth pads are another option for women who want a more sustainable and eco-friendly option. Cloth pads are made from soft and absorbent fabric and come in different sizes and shapes. They are washable and reusable for several years, making them a more sustainable option.
Brands to Avoid:
Researchers have found harmful chemicals and materials in some conventional tampon brands. These include Tampax Pearl Tampons, Equate Tampons, CVS Health Tampons, Kotex Quick Compact, Playtex Sport, U by Kotex, and O.b. Pro Comfort. Researchers have found potentially harmful chemicals, including dioxins and other toxins, in these tampons.
On the other hand, several organic cotton tampon brands are considered safer alternatives. These include Cora Organic Cotton Tampons, Tampax Pure Organic Tampons, Seventh Generation Organic Cotton Tampons, The Honest Company Organic Cotton Tampons, Rael Organic Cotton Unscented Tampons, Organic 100% Certified Organic Cotton Tampons, O.b. Organic Tampons, and Oi Organic Cotton Cardboard Applicator Tampons. The company makes these tampons without harmful chemicals and ensures they are free from pesticides and other toxins.
In conclusion, conventional tampons are toxic and dangerous due to using harmful chemicals in manufacturing. These tampons can cause serious health problems such as toxic shock syndrome and contribute to the body’s accumulation of dioxins
It is essential to consider safer alternatives such as organic cotton tampons, menstrual cups, or reusable cloth pads to protect our health and the environment. Women must educate themselves about the risks associated with conventional tampons and make informed choices about what is best for their bodies.
- Environmental Protection Agency. “Dioxins and Furans.” Environmental Protection Agency, 4 Mar. 2020, www.epa.gov/dioxin.
- Nicole, Wendee. “A question for women’s health: chemicals in feminine hygiene products and personal lubricants.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 122,3 (2014): A70-5. doi:10.1289/ehp.122-A70
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Apr. 2019, www.cdc.gov/features/toxicshock/index.html.
- Anzalone, Mary. “Why Organic Tampons Are Better.” Consumer Reports, 12 Apr. 2019, www.consumerreports.org/feminine-hygiene/why-organic-tampons-are-better/.
- Tobias, Madeline. “Menstrual Cups Are Safe, Environmentally Friendly and Cheap. So Why Aren’t We All Using Them?” The Guardian, 20 Mar. 2019, www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/mar/20/menstrual-cups-environmentally-friendly-cheap-why-arent-we-all-using-them.
- Marzullo, Sarah. “How Reusable Cloth Pads Are More Eco-Friendly Than Traditional Pads.” Eco Warrior Princess, 18 Dec. 2020, ecowarriorprincess.net/2020/12/reusable-cloth-pads-eco-friendly/.