Menstrual products seem to be such an obvious part of your monthly routine that you rarely find yourself questioning what the products that you use are actually made of. Maybe you have a fave brand that you remain loyal to because the packaging uses bright colors and the price doesn’t put a hole in your wallet, but whether or not the product contains harmful toxins was probably not a deciding factor or even something in your mind.
Perhaps an additional understanding of what goes into feminine hygiene products would be a step in the right direction.
As of now, companies do not have to list the exact ingredients that go into their products. They’re only required to state the kind of material that they are made of.
Glamour researched the matter in order to discover which products contained what substances and some of the results were troubling.
Many tampons and other menstrual products include additives which alter scent and improve absorption and stickiness. These properties are the ones in the hot seat.
Dioxins are one area of concern. Dioxins can be created during the bleaching process and have been linked to endometriosis in animals. Luckily, studies have shown that feminine hygiene products generally do not contain high levels of these.
Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental health at George Washington University, says that women should keep an eye on their fragranced products. Using these feminine care products with fragrance can lead to exposure to phthalates, which are “a class of suspected endocrine disrupters some research has linked to developmental issues like lower IQs and asthma.”
There are activists who strive to get these companies to give us the information we deserve but up until now, their efforts have been ignored. Grace Meng, a New York Rep., introduced The Menstrual Products Right To Know Act which requires “menstrual products, such as menstrual cups, menstrual pads, tampons, and therapeutic vaginal douche apparatuses, to include a list of ingredients on the label.”
One of the most detrimental aspects of this controversy is that we simply do not know what we are putting into our bodies. Because there has been limited research done on the topic, it can be difficult to suggest a solution. To be cautious, purchasing bleach-free, organic alternatives will put you in a safer position.
Make sure you’re active in learning more about your body. It could be the key to your health.