How I found out what hidden toxins lurk in tampons…
by Melissa Yale, Certified Health Educator and Personal Holistic Chef.
And so the dreaded day arrives. Like clockwork, every 28 days for the past 28 years of my life. After a few days of breast tenderness and the occasional pimple, now come the cramps. I consider it a blessing when it decides to appear while I am at home. (Because naturally there isn’t a tampon to be found inside the handbag I’ve decided to wear that day.) So, I finally find a tampon in my glove compartment or at a friend’s house if I’m lucky.
Ahh, relief. Umm, no… not really!
Sometimes you put a tampon in wrong, you wiggle and wiggle, but just can’t get it to feel “right”, so you toss it and try another. (I KNOW you have experienced this!) And so for the next 4-7 days you live in a mild state of worry “Am I leaking?”, “Can anyone see my muffin top because my jeans are too tight?”, “Best to not eat too much oil, I don’t want (more) pimples”. You wear your finest grandma underwear for sleeping, but at least at night you can wear a pad and not have the pressure of the tampon that awakens you in the middle of the night.
Ok, so this is all I ever thought about… until exactly one year ago. I asked someone for a tampon, because of course it was one of those times that my period made a surprise “public appearance”. The girl gave me an organic tampon without an applicator. I was all “How the f*%# am I supposed to insert this?” I’ve never used such a thing! She gave me directions, the first experience was awkward (as most often is the case of the unknown). Done, mission accomplished! I was now safe for a few hours.
When I got home I started to research “organic” tampons because I never even realized that such a thing existed! I became deeply saddened by the info that I came across. Huh? How is it even the norm to put genetically modified, pesticide ridden cotton into my body for at least 80 hours per month for the last 28 years of my life? Why aren’t the harmful ingredients/materials listed flat out on the box? I went through a stage of being livid. And let me tell you why. I care about myself and other people. It’s been my path and has literally become my career to educate people so that they can make informed fact-based decisions and facts about their health and self-care.
I feel it’s my job that I share this with you, however, many of my family and friends already think I’m a bit overboard with my vegan lifestyle. Hmm. What to do? What to do? Well, f*%# it! All I can do is spread awareness. We all know that lifestyle choices have consequences, but what about the info that isn’t exposed by the media??? I feel it’s my job to share that with you.
I decide to post THIS as a status on my FB page:
A few “natural” female friends recommended using a Luna or a Diva cup. One suggested cloth pads. (I replied that these are great suggestions, but that for now I need to reach the masses.) One (a mother of young twin girls) asked where she could buy these organic products. (Whole Foods or online.) A few guy friends thought it was funny. “Best FB post of the year!” “Only you would write a post with the words vagina and vulva.” Although they know me well, one since I was a child, my intent was not to be humorous about this matter. One posted links to a vegan condom company. I applauded his posts.
And THEN… one male friend made a comment “You should let people live their lives as they wish and not how you want them to.” “Don’t pressure others to believe your beliefs!!” My response was, “You can have a say in this matter when you get a sex change. These are not my beliefs, these are facts. Facts that aren’t known mainstream. I’m not pressuring, I’m informing and educating. I have no agenda. I’m not getting paid to endorse a product. I simply care. You could just scroll along to the next post or feel free to unfriend me.” He never replied. How could he? He has no defense. However, he did unfriend me. See ya! I pray that one day he learns compassion for the opposite sex’s right to know.
So, now for the details that shocked me into making the transition to organic feminine hygiene products. The following is inside the leading brands of tampons. The brands with the recognizable logos that tell us their products offer the ability to perform carefree cartwheels in public. (Seriously?? I don’t even want to get out of bed the first heavy flow day… plus I highly doubt I have a white leotard in my armoire.)
What lurks in your tampons…
Herbicides (sprayed on cotton fields)
Pesticides (sprayed on cotton fields)
Rayon/synthetics (derived from wood pulp)
Super-absorbents (made of petrochemicals) (CDC scientists admit there is a connection between these and Toxic Shock Syndrome)
Genetically modified cotton
Traces of Dioxins (known carcinogen, EPA declares dioxin to be an environmental pollutant)
Some women have vaginal dryness and sometimes ulcerations/tears can occur while inserting tampons, which gives toxins immediate access into the bloodstream. And maxipads aren’t any better since they press up against the vulva. This is pretty overwhelming in my opinion. I feel betrayed.
My mind began to swirl. I started to wonder if there was a connection to the rates of infertility issues, cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers, hormone imbalance, endometriosis, vulvitis, primary dysmenorrhoea, secondary dysmenorrhoea, yeast infections, fibroids, vaginal itching/odor/ (perfumes), etc.??? I’ve researched over 100 hours of this subject. And it makes sense that there are links, many of which have connections to the ingredient list of non-organic tampons. Which over 70% of American women use.
Don’t lose hope ladies!! During my research I found a few brands that offer an array of organic feminine hygiene products. And not only are they organic, but they offer compostable, biodegradable, USDA certified bio-based, paraben-free, perfume-free, plastic-free, animal-free, formaldehyde-free products. (And as a vegan, I was very pleased to find products that haven’t been tested on animals.)
Well, that’s (pretty much) all I have to say about this extremely important and intimate matter. Your body is a temple, cherish it, worship it’s strength.
Please do your research about everything you put into your body. Take hours, don’t be afraid to question things. Then go with your gut. Just know that more and more healthier alternatives are becoming available almost daily. And this isn’t just about our bodies, it’s also about our environmental footprint.
I’m sure what you just read is a lot to “absorb”, but for more info about how to keep your body clean through nutrition and lifestyle choices please contact me here.
Don’t forget to love yourself.
Because I care,
Hey! One more thing! Did you know this interesting/odd tidbit: The FDA considers tampons to be “medical devices”. Weird, huh?
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