Pesticides? Bleach? Do You Know What's In Your Tampons?


Toxic Ingredients In Feminine Hygiene Products
Most sanitary pads and tampons contain toxic ingredients. Get the facts!

The Price You Pay for 'Clean' White Tampons and Pads
How do tampons and pads get that ultra-white "clean" look? Usually chlorine bleach, which can create toxic dioxin and other disinfection-by-products (DBPs) such as trihalomethane. Studies show dioxin collects in your fatty tissues. According to an EPA draft report, dioxin is a serious public health threat that has no "safe" level of exposure! Published reports show that even trace dioxin levels may be linked to:

  • Abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs
  • Abnormal cell growth throughout the body
  • Immune system suppression
  • Hormonal and endocrine system disruption

Meanwhile, the FDA's official stance is that no expected health risks are associated with trace amounts of dioxins in tampons.


Naturally Savvy notes that 10 years ago, House Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced legislation requiring research into the potential health risks of feminine hygiene product use, including cervical, ovary and breast cancers and endometriosis.  Unfortunately, the legislation failed to pass, and it doesn't appear there's been any research.

Could You Be Absorbing GMOs Via Your Tampons?
Numerous alarm bells went off for Andrea as she researched potential hazards of feminine products for her book, Label Lessons, such as:

  • Conventional tampons contain pesticides: A whopping $2 billion is spent annually on pesticides to spray cotton crops.
  • Conventional tampons probably contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). According the USDA, 94 percent of all U.S. cotton is genetically engineered.
  • Tampons and pads with odor neutralizers and artificial fragrances are virtually a chemical soup, laced with artificial colors, polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene and propylene glycol (PEG), contaminants linked to hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects, dryness and infertility.

Andrea wondered whether if using a GMO tampon several times every month was any different than ingesting GMO food. But it may even be worse, considering the vaginal wall is highly permeable, allowing toxins like pesticide residue and GMO proteins direct access into the bloodstream. 

Beware of Toxic Shock Syndrome
Remember: Tampons create a favorable environment for bacteria growth. Micro-tears in the vaginal wall from tampons allow bacteria to accumulate. One infamous risk is Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), caused either by poisonous toxins from Staphylococcus aureus (staph) or group A streptococcus (strep) bacteria. TSS is a life-threatening condition, so symptom recognition is crucial. Should any of the following symptoms occur during your tampon use, seek medical help immediately:

  • Sudden high fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Rash on palms or soles of feet
  • Muscle aches
  • Redness of your eyes, mouth and/or throat

To minimize your risk of this potentially life-threatening condition:

  • Avoid super absorbent tampons - choose the lowest absorbency rate to handle your flow
  • Never leave a tampon inserted overnight; use overnight pads instead
  • When inserting a tampon, be extremely careful not to scratch your vaginal lining (avoid plastic applicators)
  • Alternate the use of tampons with sanitary napkins or mini-pads during your period
  • Change tampons at least every 4-6 hours
  • Do not use a tampon between periods

Safer Alternatives
Many of today's feminine hygiene products contain rayon, vicose, and cellulose wood fluff pulp… not cotton, let alone organic cotton. Rayon and viscose present a potential danger because of their highly absorbent fibers, which can stick to your vaginal wall. Upon removal, the loosened fibers stay behind, raising your TSS risk.

Fortunately, there are safer alternatives. Since the FDA regulates tampon absorbency, all tampons on the market must meet absorption guidelines. According to Dr. Philip Tierno, a Clinical Professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU Medical Centre, 100% cotton tampons must "consistently test under detectable levels for TSS toxins." Based on her own research, Andrea recommends the following brands of tampons and sanitary pads.

  • Natracare
  • Diva Cup
  • Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Organic Cotton Tampons
  • Glad Rags Organic Pads
  • Organyc 100% Organic Cotton Tampons

I've also created an exclusive line of organic cotton feminine hygiene products, which you can find in my online store.

By Dr. Mercola from Care2.

More from Care2:

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
Must-see Videos
Most Popular