Let that sink in. Sanitary product manufacturers do not tell you what you are inserting into your bodies on a monthly basis because they don’t give a shit about your body.
How did we ever get to a point where industries think it acceptable to sell us something they know could harm us?
Now this might change from country to country depending on laws and regulations. However, it is sadly true. I think I found this one of the most shocking things, that we are using products every month of our lives without knowing what is actually in them. And in one of the most sensitive and absorbent areas of our bodies…
I actually think Tampax as an example now do disclose ingredients, however it is still fairly vague. A lot of ‘may contain this’ and ‘may contain that’, and definitely still containing several damaging ingredients whether that be harsh fragrances or toxic rayon.
One thing is for sure, feminine care isn’t taken seriously in any aspect and I would LOVE to be part of making that change.
Why is it so important that sanitary care ingredients are declared?
To put things into perspective, the vaginal walls are incredibly absorbent and any chemicals in tampons (and even sanitary towels) could easily be passed into the bloodstream. You may think it’s just the vagina that these products could cause issues with, but in actual fact it could be the entire body.
Sadly it seems like most things are a cancer scare now, but chemicals through the body and bloodstream is definitely one of of them. Ingredients like pesticides (through the cotton process), bleaches, dioxins, rayon, dyes and fragrances have all been found in menstrual care products, and unfortunately still are today in a lot of cases.
Although harsher ingredients may be present in small volumes within each tampon, the fact we use so many in our life time increases our exposure to the dangers. Despite manufacturers claiming that their products are safe, I’m not so convinced that they can say this for certain when they don’t know the long term effects.
What is rayon?
Rayon is a main ingredient used within sanitary care products. It is formed through a process of converting wood pulp into a synthetic fibre. and by doing so creates the byproduct ‘dioxin’. Up until the late 1990’s (which isn’t actually that long ago) bleaching the wood pulp resulted in traces of dioxins but now has apparently been replaced with a chlorine-free bleaching process and (apparently) there is no scientific evidence to link these materials with risks.
Is there a link with rayon and endometriosis?
From researching the world wide web, I read that in 1994 the EPA issued a report stating that dioxins are known to cause cancers in animals, and when exposed to high levels, people can suffer from infertility and damaged immune systems. There was shockingly actually a study on poor monkeys, where 80% developed endometriosis as a result of being exposed to dioxin. Although the exposure to dioxin is low when using tampons, there is still a risk, and additionally a risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. It saddens me that there appears to be little research on a method to prevent any dioxin exposure at all, and how it’s become acceptable to expect women to use products we thought were looking after us, to actually be contributing to chronic illnesses and pain.
So what can we do?
1) Fight for justice! Sounds like a movie, but in seriousness, we need to petition this. Boycott industry leading sanitary care such as Always, Tampax, Bodyform. Protest change within the medical industry to pay more attention to the needs of women’s bodies and stop giving us an unfair treatment and a lack of concern when it comes to our lives
2) Switch to organic period care or menstrual cups to avoid the risks (and be better for the planet!). Many major UK high street retailers and supermarkets now sell organic brands, such as TOTM organic, Yoni, Kind Organic, Natracare and Ohne. You can find TOTM organic within Tesco stores, and Yoni within Sainsburys
3) Use period pants/cloth reusable sanitary pads (also very sustainable!)