Tampons: love them or hate them, they are a widely used menstrual toiletry (and “medical device” deemed by the FDA) used by people of all ages and backgrounds. They are used in one of the most absorbent parts of the human body, therefore tampon users are susceptible to taking in any chemicals, toxins, or unregulated materials that are found in the product.
While the FDA regulates what materials can be used in tampon manufacturing, there are still major health concerns surrounding the broader tampon market. Below are some key facts you should know about the common tampon, and a solution to your fears.
Non-organic tampons are at a high risk of containing glyphosate – the cancer causing herbicide in Round-Up.
The cotton grown in the United States is largely (90%) genetically modified to resist the effects of herbicides to sustain cotton growth. Herbicides like Round-Up are sprayed consistently over the entire growing period for cotton. If you’ve been reading the news lately, you know that Round-Up is directly linked to cancer growth in the human body, resulting in several high-profile lawsuits and terminal cancer diagnoses. The cotton used in store brand and commonplace tampons is at an incredibly high risk of containing these herbicide chemicals, and you are just as easily putting them directly into your body.
The “medical device” FDA categorization of tampons allows for manufacturers to use unregulated, undisclosed ingredients.
Harmful chemicals included under the guise of “fragrance” and snuck in during the use of GMOs, pesticides, and dye processing are widely unregulated. Vague ingredient names such as fragrance can actually mean a concoction of several unlisted chemicals, are absorbed directly into your blood stream without you ever knowing. Chemicals used in the manufacturing process are also largely unlisted on the ingredients label, and consist of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins (by-product of bleaching), and other toxins.
Tampons may contain synthetic fibers, causing a greater risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Aside from using genetically modified cotton, many tampon manufacturers use a combination of synthetic materials that pose just as great of a risk. Rayon and viscose are two synthetic fibers found in high absorbency tampons, are linked to TSS. After removing a tampon, some of the highly absorbent synthetic fibers may remain on your vaginal wall, creating a great environment for bacterial growth.
Safe Swap Suggestion
These tampons are made from 100% organic cotton, removing the risk of coming into contact with GMOs, pesticides, and Round-Up. Sustain Natural tampons do not contain any fragrance or dyes, and are transparent about their ingredients (hint: it’s only one!).
*Image from Sustain Natural website*