I'm going to edit this post later to provide the link with all the references but there's a glitch in her site and I can't get to it right now.
Just a few excerpts:
Consider this: The average woman, menstruating for five days a month for 38 years will use approximately 11,400 tampons in a lifetime. With roughly 73 million menstruating women in America, the toxicity levels of commercial brands of tampons is a major concern.
Originally tampons were made of 100% cotton. When women complained of seepage, manufacturers increased the absorbency by blending the cotton with highly absorbent synthetic fibers including polyester, polyacrylate rayon, carboxymehtylcellulose and viscose rayon. Huh? Huh? And what? In the early 80’s there was noise made about tampons when 38 women died of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a bacterial infection linked to the use of high absorbency tampons. Following these events, though denying ties to these deaths, tampon manufacturers changed the formulation of their tampons. In private testing, it was determined that these synthetic materials were attracting the bacteria that lead to TSS. The lesser of the evil synthetics was the rayon/viscose blend and this is what remains in conventional tampons.
Most tampons are treated with chemicals that have no place in the vagoojey. Just as I say heck no to Cottonseed oil, it is for the same reason I say heck no to sticking toxic cotton up into my nethers. Did ya know that 84 million pounds of pesticides are sprayed on 14.4 million acres of conventional cotton grown each year in the US. Forget food, these chemicals are some of the most toxic used in agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency has declared seven of the top 15 to be ‘possible’, ‘likely’, ‘probable’, or ‘known’ human carcinogens. Can someone say vaginal poisoning!
The rayon/viscose used in Tampax is made from wood pulp. Last I checked, there were no such thing as rayon trees and trees don’t magically turn into rayon- it takes hundreds of chemicals. The chlorine bleaching of wood pulp is where the greatest danger lies. The process creates chlorinated hydrocarbons, a hazardous group of chemicals with byproducts that includes dioxins, some of the most toxic substances known. Parts per million my cooch! There are no safe levels dioxins, they are impossible to break down and so keep building up in our tissues.
Wanna get chemical for a mo?
Responding to protest from the consumer and by the US government with the “The Women’s Health and Dioxin Act”, followed by the “Tampon Safety and Research Act.” (“Protect Women from Dioxin and Toxic Shock Syndrome”) the tampon industry changed its rayon bleaching method to Elemental Chlorine Free (EFC) bleaching. This method replaces chlorine gas with chlorine dioxide, recognized for its disinfectant properties. Chlorine dioxide kills microorganisms by disrupting transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. Now, think about this nugget for a minute. This is the ’safe’ option for tampon bleaching that inhibits nutrient absorption. And we know what happens when we aren’t getting the goods from the foods we eat into our cells… we get sicky.
The makers use the theory that chlorine dioxide is far less reactive with organic materials than the previously used chlorine bleach. With no pure chlorine involved, EFC bleaching should theoretically result in a dioxin free product. This, however, is not the case. Studies have shown that the manufacturing of chlorine dioxide does not produce a pure product, as chemical reactions that take place during the bleaching process free elemental chlorine atoms, therefore releasing dioxin. The Worldwatch Institute has referred to ECF bleaching as a ‘low-tar cigarette’ strategy’, lowering the amount of dioxins, not eliminating them.
According to the Environment Protection Agency [EPA], no safe level for dioxin exposure exists. Very careful wording on the FDA website states that “some elemental chlorine-free bleaching processes can theoretically generate dioxins at extremely low levels, and dioxins are occasionally detected in trace amounts…”. Given that dioxin is cumulative and slow to disintegrate, the real danger comes from repeated contact. I think it’s safe to consider five days a month, 12 months a year, for nearly 40 years to be repeated contact.
Just in case dioxin contaminated rayon and pesticide soaked cotton weren’t enough, tampons also contain cocktail of extra chemicals that include absorbency enhancers, synthetic deodorants, and artificial fragrances.
Dioxin accumulates in humans, particularly women’s body fat and breast milk. The main means of elimination is therefore through the breast milk or the placenta (horrifying, I know!) and then begins to accumulate in the fetus. This persistent toxin is not only spreading through populations but through generations.
The accumulation of dioxin in the body is being linked to dozens of illnesses and diseases and can be grouped into three types: those involving enzymes, growth factors, and hormones.
The most recent EPA report, confirms dioxin as a “known human carcinogen” and this known cancer-causing chemical comes into direct contact with internal organs and very susceptible areas that lead to immunotoxic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic responses. In short… these chemicals make us sick! But you knew that.
Tampons are placed up against moist fatty tissue for extended periods of time, creating an ideal environment for chemical absorption in a concentrated area. Dioxin acts as an endocrine disrupter, the endocrine system being a network of feedback mechanisms that work to maintain hormonal balance. One of the diseases most directly linked to the endocrine-disrupting effect of dioxin released from tampons is endometriosis, a disease where endometrial cells from the lining of the uterus inappropriately grow outside of the uterus- on the ovaries, on the outside of the uterus or fallopian tubes, or elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. Sexy yes? Dioxin induces an increase in estrogen levels which both causes the lining of the uterus to continue to grow and high estrogen is linked both to The Crazies as well as reproductive cancers.
In addition to cancer and endometriosis the enzyme, hormonal and growth disruption caused by dioxin exposure has been linked to birth defects, the inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm count, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, and lowered testosterone levels.