Last year we wrote about alternative menstrual products that included the reusable pad cloth, seasponge tampons, disposable softcups, and reusable softcups. Though we briefly mentioned that a downside to regular tampons are the chemicals they contain, allow me to elaborate.
Dioxin. Dioxin is a chemical byproduct of the bleaching process that tampons go through (the cotton and rayon that make tampons), and the FDA has been contemplating its effects in women for over a decade. There are currently no formal reports on the amount of this chemical that manufacturers include, as the information is not disclosed to the public. Though the amount of dioxin that the FDA claims is within the tampons is “below detectable limits,” a 2005 study found “detectable” levels of the chemical in seven brands of tampons.
In 2010 the World Health Organization published a report about the dangers of dioxin in humans, and stated that:
“Long-term exposure is linked to impairment of the immune system, the developing nervous system, the endocrine system and reproductive functions. Chronic exposure of animals to dioxins has resulted in several types of cancer.”
The FDA has insisted that the amount of dioxin found within tampons is not a threat to humans, you must draw a conclusion for yourself. A menstruating female can go through upwards of 16,000 tampons in her lifetime, through which she is likely to expose her fragile vaginal tissue to dioxin with each use. Do the numbers add up to something dangerous? For now, it is up to only you to decide.
For an easy chemical-free tampon solution, check out Seventh Generation’s Organic cotton tampons, which are free of dyes, chemicals and fragrances. While a bit pricier than regular tampons, I managed to find them online for less than $5.