Like many of you, I’m increasingly worried about the amount of chemicals we are exposed to. From talking to our YinOva patients, I am clear that many of us want to take sensible steps towards a less toxic lifestyle. Personally, I’ve changed my diet, eliminated toxic household cleaners, made different make-up choices and even found a natural deodorant that works (Dr. Hauschka).
In the past I’ve eyed organic tampons in the health food store and dismissed them as too expensive. However, as a someone who specializes in the care of women, I know that the membranes inside the vagina are thin, sensitive and more porous than our skin. The average woman uses about 11,000 tampons or sanitary towels in a lifetime, so it makes sense to look closely at what these products are made of. When I researched the chemicals in most commercial sanitary products I knew that this was another change I needed to make.
In our book, Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility, Dr David and I discussed the adverse effect of dioxins on fertility and you can find out more about them here on the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) website. As you can see from the link the EPA has confirmed that dioxins are known to cause cancer in animals and are suspected of contributing to human cancers too.
Tampons are made of cotton and rayon which are bleached because we, the consumers, associate white cotton with purity and cleanliness. This bleaching process produces dioxins, although the FDA assures us that they are present in tampons in very minute levels and are therefore safe. However the risk from dioxins increases with repeated exposure because dioxins have a long half-life. What this means is that the dioxins stay active in the body and don’t break down for many years. In fact it may take 50 years or more for them to be completely eliminated from the body. Dioxins therefore build up over time, and each exposure increases the amount of the chemical in the body. According to the EPA, there really is no “acceptable” level of exposure to dioxins. The real danger lies in repeated contact and I think we’d all agree that using about 5 tampons a day, 5-7 days a month, for about 40 years means we definitely have repeated contact with this dangerous chemical even though the levels are very low.
Did you know that cotton is one of the crops that is most heavily sprayed with pesticides? I didn’t either. Not until I started to look at the research and found out that 10% of the all world’s pesticides and 22.5% of insecticides are used to grow non organic cotton. Five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton in the U.S. are known to be carcinogenic and all nine of them are classified by the EPA as Category I and II chemicals, meaning the most dangerous and likely to cause harm. Again the residues in tampons are small but given the repeated exposure are they small enough to be harmless? We don’t know and personally I’m no longer willing to take the risk.