It’s that time of the month. Comes every month. Cramps, bloating, time to break out the tampons. I came across an article last month and I can’t seem to remember it. I do remember something about tampons being made out of GMO, non-organic cotton byproducts. I never thought about what my tampons were made of. Well, now I’m thinking about it.
Major brand tampons are made of conventionally grown cotton (which can be exposed to synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides) and rayon. To get rayon, manufacturers begin with cellulose extracted from wood pulp. It is soaked in a caustic soda and rolled or pressed to remove this soda. After pressing, the cellulose is shredded into a substance called white crumb. The white crumb is allowed to oxidize and then is treated with carbon disulfide, which is volatile, flammable and used as an insecticide. The white crumb reacts with carbon disulfide and forms yellow crumb. The yellow crumb is then dissolved in a caustic solution which produces a thick, sticky consistency substance. This is aged, producing an even slurry and then filtered. The mixture is forced through a spinner, creating many even strands of fine thread to form rayon.
The FDA states that dioxins are present in tampons as they are currently manufactured. The bleaching of the rayon can lead to the production of dioxins in the product. The tampon industry is convinced that we, as women, need bleached white products in order to view the product as clean and pure. Dioxins are carcinogenic, highly toxic, can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and cause cancer. Dioxins have a half-life of 7-11 years, meaning they can stay that long in your body or even longer. And since tampons come in contact with the most sensitive and absorbent tissues in our body, the dioxins will increase and build up over time.
There are organic cotton tampons. I bought some at Maple City Co-op. You can also order online from a company called Natracare. They are 100% organic, free of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins and chlorine. There are also menstrual cups such as Diva Cup, Mooncup and Femmecup. I personally haven’t tried these but I think I will. They can be reused for 10 years! I read online about how women get used to them and like them so much. They say they do take some getting used to though. Some of the women even said that their period is shorter, not as heavy and they don’t have cramps anymore! That makes me curious to try. I know some of you will think that is too gross, but I just ask that you think on it. You will save money and save the environment by not disposing of so many tampons, applicators, pads and pantiliners.