Most of the beauty supplies we use contain potentially harmful chemical ingredients. Unfortunately, the feminine products used for menstruation are also hazardous. As if the weeklong process isn’t stressful enough, there are chemicals inside your pads and tampons that are dangerous to your health. It’s probably something you haven’t considered but can have a major impact on your life. There are also concerns that these products have a negative impact on our environment. Here are four concerns about the chemicals being used in making tampons that can cause serious health side effects and how to work around them.
Given the sensitive area of where tampons are used, you wouldn’t expect them to be cancer-inducing. To help these product be a bright white, they are treated with chlorine which leaves behind dioxins. Dioxins are essentially extremely toxic but natural pollutants. While we get more exposure to them via food, they’re also found in tampons and can threaten the immune system. Ingredients like acetone, styrene, and chloroform are all carcinogens and toxic, but part of the ingredient list of feminine products.
There is also an increased exposure to the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA), another carcinogen that can interrupt your body’s regular endocrine system and hormone regulation. And even the way these products are packaged can expose you to cancer-causing elements. The smooth applicator’s appearance comes from the use of phthalates. Besides breast cancer, phthalates might cause the development of diabetes or obesity in children.
Your skin covers your entire body and acts as a protective shield against bacteria, germs and other things that could make you sick. However, this barrier becomes less effective when chemicals are placed directly on it. For example, the dioxins and other chemicals used in tampons are absorbed directly into your bloodstream when using a tampon. Unlike when you ingest chemicals and your digestive acids can break some toxins down, the chemicals in tampons can enter and flow your blood before collecting in your tissues and organs.
One of the most popular topics regarding consumer health is the use of genetically-modified organisms in food. But, as with tampon production, GMO use is not only limited to edibles. The cotton used in pads and tampons are GMO. This means they are treated heavily with strong pesticides in order to produce a stronger but deadlier form of cotton. The chemical runoff from GMO-treated cotton is damaging the soil, water, and other natural resources. This also means that your body is suffering from the introduction of GMO cotton via tampon use.
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is the condition caused by the introduction of bacteria into the bloodstream from sanitary devices. It’s usually the tampons made of synthetic fibers that carry the highest risk. These are made of combinations of cotton and various types of rayon, which is like plastic. Using organic cotton tampons is one way to avoid this happening. Symptoms of TSS include redness of the eyes or mouth, vomiting, seizures and low blood pressure.
It can be hard finding tampons or even sanitary napkins that lack harmful chemical potential. In fact, most products we buy as consumers contain some type of chemical mixture. But with the raised public awareness of toxic ingredients and genetically altering, there have been several new products put on the market. Typically, these topics focus on choosing natural ways to clean your home or in other personal care areas like bathing or moisturizing without toxic ingredients. Likewise, organic tampons and devices like menstrual cups offer a safer alternative to traditional tampons.