Toxic Chemicals in Common Feminine Hygiene Products

Do you ever feel “not so fresh”? That was a TV commercial slogan for a feminine hygiene product over twenty years ago. Perhaps the reason you may itch and burn when using feminine products is because of the toxic chemicals they contain. The chemicals used in tampons and deodorants expose women to chemicals that are linked to endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, and cancer.

Tampons and feminine pads are currently regulated as medical devices by the FDA. Since they are not considered cosmetics, ingredients do not have to be listed on the package. A report from the Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) is targeting Procter & Gamble, makers of Tampax and Always, two of the most popular feminine product brands in North America. WVE is asking them to list ingredients on the label.

Conventional tampons and pads may contain chemicals like dioxins and pesticide residue, which can cause cancer, as well as hormone disruptors like parabens, which are more easily absorbed into vaginal tissue than regular skin. Vulvar and vaginal tissue are more susceptible to toxins and irritants.

When a product states it has fragrance, a fragrance is a mixture of any of over 3,000 chemicals, such as carcinogens, irritants, allergens, and potential endocrine disruptors. Most every type of feminine product from pads to washes to creams to douches all have a fragranced variety. WVE urges women to avoid all fragranced products.

The group Naturally Savvy conducted testing in 2013 finding that at least one major tampon brand contains up to nine different pesticides. Some of these include Mecarbam, Procymidone, and Pyrethrum, which are all possible endocrine disruptors. These levels are below the maximum allowable level for food, but do not meet the FDA’s guidelines for tampons, which should be “free of pesticide residue”.

WVE suggests that women switch to safer alternative feminine products, such as unscented, chlorine-free, unbleached tampons and pads. Look for brands that list all ingredients, including fragrance.

Huff, Ethan. “Yes, women are being poisoned by toxic chemicals from feminine hygiene products.” Natural News, 30 Sep 2016. Web. 11 Jul 2017.

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