It is estimated that over 7 billion tampons and 12 billion pads (and
their packaging waste) are disposed of annually! They are typically
manufactured using rayon and non-organic cotton that is chlorine
bleached. Production of rayon (a wood-pulp derivative) causes pollution.
So does conventional cotton production, which uses synthetic
fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and defoliants.
Health: Aside from the cotton potentially containing trace pesticides, etc.
tampons have been found to contain trace levels of dioxin. Dioxin is
produced as a by-product of the chlorine bleaching process. Dioxin is a
known carcinogen that is linked to endometriosis and ovarian, cervical
and breast cancers, among other things.
if that isn't scary enough, the rayon fibers in tampons are linked to
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS.) TSS is life-threatening and is caused by a
bacteria build-up in the blood stream. Rayon is commonly used by tampon
manufactures because it has super-absorbent characteristics, the same
characteristic that causes health problems. Due to its super-absorbency,
some of the fibers tend to get left behind by sticking to the vaginal
walls. There they dry out the normally mucous-y vaginal wall leaving
tiny wounds--doorways for bacteria into the bloodstream. Rayon does not
discriminate with its super-absorbent quality: it holds bacteria just as
well as bodily fluids, hence the link to TSS. While these health risks
are far greater for tampon users than pad users, dioxin and rayon are
both present in pads as well.
Cost: Tampons and pads are expensive! Women, individually, easily spend
between $300 and $400 every 5 years on these products--over $2,000 a