TOTM | The truth about tampons

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Do you know the truth about tampons?

From man-made substances to harsh chemicals, the truth will shock you. Learn all about the ingredients in mainstream tampons and pads.

The truth will shock you

The truth about tampons can be difficult to find, unless you know where to look. In fact, a recent study revealed that 9 out 10 women weren’t sure what tampons are made of*. Mainstream brands often find their way into supermarket baskets because they are a trusted, recognisable name. Unfortunately, these brands do not provide a full list of ingredients. Your vagina is one of the most absorbent and sensitive parts of your body. We think you deserve to know what’s inside the products you’re using!

"On average a woman will use 12,000 tampons in their lifetime, and health experts are still researching the cumulative effects of these substances in the long-run."

Harmful ingredients

If you dig around, you will find that mainstream tampons contain cotton and rayon. Sounds normal, right?

The truth is conventional cotton is farmed using pesticides and insecticides (in fact, it’s the most heavily sprayed crop on the planet). In 2015, an independent study by the University of La Plata found 85% of tampons tested contained Glyphosate. The active ingredient in weed killer, and classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the World Health Organisation.

And then there’s rayon, a man-made material that’s been used since the 1930’s. Produced from cellulose, which is a compound extracted from wood pulp. The extraction process creates the hydrocarbon dioxin as a by-product.

Potentially carcinogenic, dioxins are often linked to endometriosis. It has also been shown to disrupt hormones and cause problems with the immune and reproductive systems. Dioxins are persistent and once in the body, they remain there indefinitely, building up with each new exposure.

In addition to these core ingredients, tampons and pads contain potentially harmful chemical additives. This includes chlorine dioxide bleach, unknown fragrance/perfumes, dyes, and a range of surfactants and finishing agents.

These should not be anywhere near your vagina.

Surely, this is regulated?

Tampons and pads are regulated and approved as medical devices by the FDA. Under this category, manufacturers do not need to disclosure ingredients. What’s more, studies revealed that dioxin levels in a single tampon are too low to be concerned. However, on average a woman will use 12,000 tampons in their lifetime, and health experts are still researching the cumulative effects of these substances in the long-run.

The vagina is one of the most absorbent parts of the body. Exposing it to unnatural materials and substances can cause immediate irritation and potential long-term health risks.

We choose to be open and honest about our ingredients. This helps you make informed decisions when choosing products to use for your period.

*Only 12% of female survey participants stated they knew what tampons were made from. Findings are taken from an independent survey by The Relations Group, commissioned by TOTM. The survey was completed in March 2017, included 2,000 women aged 18-40 in the UK.