The Toxic Truth About Tampons

Ahhh Tampons…

The toxic truth about tampons

I don’t know a woman or girl that didn’t stuff one up their sleeve when they first started getting their periods so that others wouldn’t see them. These little guys have kept many a woman dry and leak free through tons of activities like swimming, sports, weddings, anytime you were to dare to wear white. They are much more comfortable than a pad, which can start to feel like a diaper after a while, and are very discrete.

But we are starting to learn about this trusted friend… they contain more toxins than we think.

A quick biology lesson:

Your vaginal walls are permeable, meaning that chemicals can be absorbed through the mucus membranes that make up our vaginal walls and enter our blood stream. This is why medicines are sometimes delivered through this pathway. So anything that we stick up there and let sit for hours at a time, will eventually seep out and into our bodies.


So now let’s talk about tampons. There are numerous chemicals involved in tampons. For starters, tampons are made primarily out of cotton, which if it is grown in the United States and if not grown organically (about 90% of cotton in the USA) have been treated with the pesticide, “Round Up” from Monsanto. This pesticide contains glyphosate, which has been ruled by the World Health Organization (WHO), as “probably carcinogenic”. The cotton that is making tampons, is also being treated with this chemical first, which can allow it to enter into your blood stream at a slow rate. It has been linked to increased cancer, endocrine disruption, & metabolic changes. YICKS!

Tampons are considered “medical devices” by the FDA, so the manufacturers are not required to produce all the materials that are used to make them. However, we know that often times odor neutralizers, dyes, & fragrances are added to tampons in order to decrease the smell associated with our menstruation and for better marketing and sales. These also can seep through your mucus membranes and cause serious health risk and endocrine disruption.

The waste that tampons and pads create is astronomical. Each of these little guys is wrapped in plastic, sometimes with plastic applicators, and those added chemicals? it slows the rate of decomposition. It can take up to 6 months for the actual tampon to decompose. But even before they are used the amount of water, pesticides, and fertilizer is huge! These have chemicals also have to go somewhere, many times into our streams, rives, and oceans. Flushing tampons is a big no no for more than your plumping situation. They are eaten by marine life and seep our bodily waste into the water ways (gross!!!)

What You Can Use Instead:

Let me say, that this post was not meant to scare you or gross you out. I wanted to share what we are learning about a product that some women use every. single. month. There are some simple changes that you can make to avoid these health and environmental cost!

  1. Switch to a reusable menstrual cup or disc. I personally use Dot Cup because they give a cup to a girl in a developing country and it came with a super cute storage bag (this wasn’t any kind of sponsorship post either!) These are made of silicone and can stay in up to 12 hours, which can be a good thing when you are running around like crazy on a hospital floor.

  2. Period Panties. I haven’t used these, but have tons of gal pals that do and love them. They are washable so these also cut down on the excess waste.

  3. organic cotton tampons and & pads. I have literally seen these at CVS, Walgreens, Target, and various grocery store. While these won’t cut down on waste, they will cut back on the amount of toxins that are potentially being exposed to you. I 100% understand wanting to use what’s worked for you in the past, so these would be a great option.

Tampons have been a staple for over 60 years. I have definitely used them and think I even have a box of them stashed away in my bathroom cabinet. They are convenient and you can get them pretty much anywhere in the developed world. But they truly may not be the best thing for your health and they certainly aren’t great for the planet. I challenge you to try out some of the options listed above to see if you can find a different solution. And if you are experiencing endocrine issues, I definitely invite you to bring this up with your provider, as cutting these and other toxins out may help.

You know what works best for you and thats why you’re amazing! Think on this article and feel free to send me any questions you may have! Until then, Live Joyful!

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