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Female health

Dioxin And Asbestos In Tampons

Harmful with no
consideration to health

From Bruce Chesley. News Hawk Inc 2-8-00.

Have you heard that tampon makers include asbestos in
tampons? Why would they do this? Because asbestos makes you bleed more,
if you bleed more, you’re going to need to use more. Why isn’t this against
the law since asbestos is so dangerous? Because the powers that be, in all
their wisdom (not), did not consider tampons as being ingested, and therefore
wasn’t illegal or considered dangerous.

This month’s Essence magazine
has a small article about this and they mention two manufacturers of a cotton
tampon alternative. The companies are Organic Essentials @ 800-765-6491 and
Terra Femme @ 800-755-0212.

A woman getting her Ph.D. at University of
Colorado @ Boulder sent the following: “I am writing this because women are
not being informed about the dangers of something most of us use -tampons. I
am taking a class this month and I have been learning a lot about biology and
women, including much about feminine hygiene.

Recently we have learned
that tampons are actually dangerous (for other reasons than TSS). I’ll tell
you this, after learning about this in our class, most of the females wound up
feeling angry and upset with the tampon industry, and I for one, am going to
do something about it. To start, I want to inform everyone I can, and email is
the fastest way that I know how.

Here is the scoop: Tampons contain two
things that are potentially harmful: Rayon (for absorbency), and dioxin (a
chemical used in bleaching the products). The tampon industry is convinced
that we, as women, need bleached white products – in order to view the product
as pure and clean. The problem here is that the dioxin produced in this
bleaching process can lead to very harmful problems for a woman.

Dioxin is potentially carcinogenic (cancer-associated) and is toxic to the
immune and reproductive systems. It has also been linked to endometriosis and
lower sperm counts for men – for both, it breaks down the immune system. Last
September the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that there really
is no set “acceptable” level of exposure to dioxin given that it is cumulative and
slow to disintegrate.

The real danger comes from repeated contact (Karen Houppert
“Pulling the Plug on the Tampon Industry.) I’d say using about 4-5 tampons a
day, five days a month, for 38 menstruating years is “repeated contact”,
wouldn’t’ you?

Rayon contributes to the danger of tampons and dioxin
because it is a highly absorbent substance. Therefore, when fibers from the
tampons are left behind in the vagina (as it usually occurs), it creates a
breeding ground for the dioxin. It also stays in a lot longer than it would
with just cotton tampons. This is also the reason why TSS (toxic shock
syndrome) occurs.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES? Using feminine hygiene
products that aren’t bleached and that are all cotton. Other feminine hygiene
products contain dioxin as well, but they are not nearly as
dangerous since they are not in direct contact with the vagina. The
pads/napkins need to stop being bleached, but obviously tampons are the most

So, what can you do if you can’t give up using tampons? Use
tampons, that are made from 100% cotton, and that are UNBLEACHED.
Unfortunately, there are very, very few companies that make these safe
tampons. They are usually only found in health food stores. Countries all over
the world (Sweden, Germany, British Columbia, etc.) have demanded a switch to
this safer tampon, while the U.S. has decided to keep us in the dark about it.
In 1989, activists in England mounted a campaign against chlorine bleaching.
Six weeks and 50,000 letters later, the makers of sanitary products switched
to oxygen bleaching (one of the green methods available). (MS magazine,
May/June 1995).

WHAT TO DO NOW: (See Dioxin link to Cancer)

Tell people. Everyone. Inform them. We
are being manipulated by this industry and the government, let’s do something
about it!

Please write to the companies:Tampax (Tambrands),
Playtex, O.B., Kotex.