It’s that time again, every month when the cramps begin, the hormones start to fly and our favourite friend comes to visit. If you are an avid tampon user like 70% of the women out there, in your lifetime you may end up using upwards of 10,000 tampons. Have you ever stopped and thought about what it is that you’re putting… up there… 10,000 times?
Like many others, for most of my life I never gave it a second thought. It was only when I wanted to have kids that I seriously started thinking all of the toxic chemicals that are entering my body everyday. Women often “nest” right before their baby is born; this is where they have an uncontrollable urge to clean and organize the house to prepare it for their new baby. Along the same line of thought, it only made sense to me that I “prepare” my body to be the best possible home for this growing baby for the next 9 months. So even before trying to get pregnant I went on a quest, not necessarily to change my life, but to at least have the knowledge of what’s entering my body every day and how that impacts me and my future baby.
Being more considerate of the food I eat and what is in the cleansers and creams I put on my body were obvious, but what about other things such as the tampons and pads I reach for every month. Once you start trying to have a baby, fertility all of a sudden becomes very important in your life. Between looking at “chemical free” ways of living and natural ways to promote fertility I came across articles implying that chemicals used in tampons have been shown to contribute to infertility.
Chemicals? In tampons??? Researching this was not easy. Why? Because the companies that produce these products don’t feel the need and aren’t required to disclose what they use in their products. It wasn’t until just last year after pressure from activists that tampon manufactures even began to release information about the ingredients found in their products. Although they by no means provide ALL of the ingredients in their products, and they certainly don’t list what they call “incidental ingredients” that are byproducts from some part of the manufacturing process – they did make a start by listing SOME of the ingredients. So what DO we know is in these sticks of wonder that save our life every month?
The ingredients the manufacturer lists themselves.
- Cotton – What do you picture when you think about cotton. Nice clean pure white fluffy balls of softness. While cotton accounts for only 2-3% of the world’s cropland, cotton fields account for nearly a quarter of the global sales of insecticides and pesticides. And those added chemicals make it all the way to your doorstep, inside the nicely packaged, colourfully wrapped tampons.
- Rayon – Rayon is a cellulose fibre derived from wood pulp. This fibre has to be bleached in order to remove any germs, bacteria or residue. Unfortunately, the bleaching process involving chlorine results in the byproduct of dioxins being left on the tampon. The biggest problems with this highly toxic compound (which has an endless list of detrimental effects on our body) once it enters our body it stays there for decades accumulating with each exposure. While tampon manufacturers have refined the “bleaching” process to emit less dioxins than before, they haven’t eliminated them all together. The bleaching process that results in no toxic dioxin residue is much more expensive – and why would they loose money when the cheaper process only leaves “trace amounts” of dioxins on the tampon? Since dioxins accumulate I wonder how much “trace amount” + “trace amount” + “trace amount” x 10,000 = ?
One study found that 80% of monkeys exposed to dioxin developed endometriosis, a painful disease in which uterine tissue is found outside the uterus, frequently leading to infertility
- Polyester, polyethelene, polypropylene – in plain English – plastics. Various types of plastic made of chemical compounds that can have extremely harmful effects on our bodies.
- Fragrance – What a sweet smell. There is now a vast amount if research exposing the hazardous ingredients used for “fragrance” . To even attempt to research this is next to impossible because of the thousands of different chemical blends manufacturers use. But don’t worry, on the Tampax website, under the materials section beside fragrance, instead of listing the actual ingredients they use for fragrance, they simply state “Fragrance ingredients like those found in other women’s products”. Dodged a bullet there – I hope no one ever asks what fragrance ingredients are used in “other women’s products.”
And this brings me to my favourite statement by far, while manufacturers don’t deny the presence of these harmful chemicals, they justify it by using the statement “found only in trace amounts.” Whew, yes ladies, no need to worry, there are extremely toxic and harmful chemicals found in your hygiene products – but only in “trace amounts”. I don’t know about you but that statement does not ease my nerves. How much is trace amounts? Who decided what a “safe” level of toxic chemicals is for my body? The number one justification from the companies producing these products – these chemicals is in the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, and clothes we wear so don’t worry that they are in your tampons. So what happens when the “trace amount” from all the different ways we absorb toxic chemicals adds up? Is it still a trace amount and is it still a “safe” amount?
Maybe the number or amount of these chemicals found in products is not as important as how much they are absorbed into our bodies. I mean, our bodies come ready with protective armour to prevent all the bad things in our environment from entering our bodies. The same way your skin acts as a filter for the outside of your body, your vaginal mucous membrane acts as your defense shield inside of your body. So how does it work? Similar to other mucous membranes in our bodies such as in our nasal cavity, a thick layer of mucous lines the vagina and acts as a filter for everything coming in such as dirt, bacteria, and chemicals. But what happens when this mucous dries up, or when cuts or abrasions appear? The barrier is then broken and bacteria and chemicals have an easy path into our bodies. Tampons’ main function is absorbency – and unfortunately no one told that tampon to please absorb only the gross period stuff and leave behind the good moisture that protects our bodies. Time and time again research has shown the drying effect of tampons leading to peeling and abrasions, and how they change the “delicate” balance in the vagina, meant to protect us.
Now Monsanto’s toxic herbicide has been found in 80% of feminine hygiene products
Now glyphosate, the chemical found in Monsanto’s “RoundUp” herbicide used on genetically modified cotton crops, is being discovered in the vast majority of feminine hygiene products.
The research team from National University of La Plata headed by Damian Marino revealed their research findings last weekend. Note carefully that such research would never be conducted in a U.S. university because they’ve been infiltrated and bought off by Monsanto. Example: Discredited professor Kevin Folta at the University of Florida, who was caught receiving $25,000 from Monsanto after publicly lying that he had no financial ties to the herbicide company. Even though Folta has been exhaustively exposed as a liar and a violator of university ethics, the University of Florida sees nothing wrong with such deceptions. Click here to read the secret letter where Monsanto agrees to pay him $25,000. (source)
So while it’s easy to consider how the food we put in our mouth will impact our body, the potentially detrimental effects of the toxic chemicals we absorb in other ways such as tampons, may not be as obvious. Switching to pads isn’t the easily solution either since they contain as much if not more chemicals than tampons.
While we can’t get rid of that magical time of the month that we all enjoy so much, make an informed decision and be aware that there are less harmful alternatives to the chemical laced products that we’ve come to know and love.
Why you should only use organic feminine hygiene products
The only sure way to avoid GMOs in your vagina is to source certified organic feminine hygiene products made from organic cotton or other organic materials.
It’s easy for consumers to forget that their blue jeans are made from GMO cotton saturated with glyphosate… or that the cotton gauze in their first aid kits are also made with GMO cotton and glyphosate. In fact, even cotton swabs and cotton balls are usually GMO.(source)