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Women...before you use another tampon, read this!

 
Anonymous Coward
07/08/2005 11:18 PM
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Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
Health & Enviro & Social Impacts
::: what every menstruating woman needs to know :::



I had no idea this was an issue...





Red Alert! Red Alert! Red Alert!


Toxic chemicals are contained in disposable products which are bleached with chlorine compounds. There is accumulating evidence that industrial uses of chlorine, including pulp and paper bleaching, releases toxic dioxins which bioaccumulate in the environment causing serious harm to wildlife.

Tampons and pads are often overpackaged and cause enormous waste.The average woman will go through about 10,000 pads or tampons in her life not to mention the millions of unnecessary plastic tampon applicators which wash up on beaches around the world and fill up landfills.

In addition to this ecological damage, there are also personal dangers caused by sanitary product use. Dioxin, a by-product of the chlorine bleaching process, has a number of serious health impacts: the effects of shredding rayon fibers from tampons in women´s vaginas, the probable link between dioxin and endometriosis, the possibility of cervical cancer being linked to prolonged tampon use over many years, toxic shock syndrome, headaches and so on.



The Problem With Chlorine
All the major brands (Tampax, Playtex, O.B.) use the chlorine bleaching process to whiten their products. Aside from leaving behind minute quantities of toxic dioxins in the product and releasing dioxins into our rivers and waterways, there is absolutely no logical reason for bleaching sanitary products whiter than white. Tampons are not sterile.

All the major brands contain rayon which is a pulp product which can only be made through a chlorine or chlorinated compound bleaching process. Fibre loss from rayon has been traced as the probable cause of Toxic Shock Syndrome and has been shown to damage a woman´s vagina by causing ulceration and a peeling of the mucous membrane. If one must use tampons, alternative products are available which are made from100% cotton and if bleached at all, it is with hydrogen peroxide which guarantees the product to be dioxin-free.

Facts from: "Stop the Whitewash" Campaign: a project of The WEED Foundation.


www.bloodsisters.org
Her Majesty
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
i´ve known about this for about six months, its hard to find the cotton ones but you can find them and they are worth paying a little more for
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
Hmmm, I thought plain old tampax were just cotton...

here´s some more info from that website:



Menstrual Activism ::: building a hand-made revolt


Tell the major producers how you feel. Use the 1-800 number on the box of your product, or visit the Tampax web site (yes they do have one) and tell them what you think. Check out our page of related links.
Demand chlorine-free products. If your local store does not supply them, demand that they do.

Demand products with reduced packaging. Women buy 80% of all consumer goods and just about all menstrual products. That´s a lot of clout. Use it.

Write letters to your government or MP asking for stricter control over menstrual products. Currently, they fall into a loophole where there is little regulation. Any company can put out their product without proper testing.

Tell your friends what you know and how you feel. Menstruation is a cool part of some woman´s life. Don´t hide it. Talk about it.

Switch to better, more ecological products. Chlorine-free disposables without applicators are available at most health food stores. These products shouldn´t contain deodorants, perfumes and known irritants which interfere with the natural chemistry of a woman´s body and which we do not need.

A better alternative is to buy or sew your own set of five to ten washable pads. They are easy to use, cute to look at, and comfortable. Just use them, soak them in cold water, and cold water wash them with your regular laundry. Making your own is pretty cool. We have patterns that you can try out or you can design your own. All you need is some soft natural cloth like cotton flannel. Cut it into the shape you like, perhaps based on the size the crotch part in your undies and sew. It´s easy!

Other alternatives exist for women. Natural sea sponges can be bought at any pharmacy. Just attach some dental floss for a string. Dip it in boiling water to sterilise it, squeeze and insert as you would any tampon.

Another alternative is the menstrual cup. It is made from 100% natural rubber from the tropical rainforest. Insert it like a tampon and it catches your flow.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
Ok listen up... the chemicals are not the main concern. The bacteria and infection from these goddamn things shoved up there are. The body is not meant to have a plug. Use pads, organic if you can find them. NEVER use tampons! NEVER
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
For alternate products, go here

[link to www.epigee.org]

There are cups, much like a diaphrams,
And sea sponges that you rinse and use over.
these cut into Big business profits, so you don´t hear much abuot them.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
You are going to get the Sand Pigs all riled up by talking about menstrual issues.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
I first found this info because I was thinking the other day about how perhaps the tampon revolutionized life for women. Before tampon use was widespread, women all wore dresses because they could only use big pads. but tampons meant wearing pants more often and I think it totally changed the way women live their lives. So I googled "tampons" just to see what would come up and this is what I found. btw, the official tampax website faq´s deny any dioxin in their products and also say loose fibers and bleaching are not a problem.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Great thread!
It is my belief that this is known and is done on purpose.Probably a strong precursor to breast cancer as well.

Also,PLEASE read your labels for glycol propolyne(sp?) which is friggin anti-freeze! It is in a ton of beauty,hair products etc and even deli-meats like Healthy Choice!!!!
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
Couldn;t they like put a hose in there and let it run into a bag or something?
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
As the proud owner and bearer of a twat, I have NEVER understood women who prefer to stick a psuedo-cotton stick up their bleeding holes. Yeah, I´ve heard about pads feeling "dirty" and whatnot but I got news ladies: RAGGING IS NOT PRETTY!

So am I surprised that it can kill you? hell no! But you must keep in mind all the dumbass pointless and sometimes painful shit that women do to themselves anyway.

doomsol
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
"A better alternative is to buy or sew your own set of five to ten washable pads. They are easy to use, cute to look at"

blink
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
Hey 1676, I always thought women historically wore dresses to make for easier access for the guys.dubya
Norseman
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
Our Cherokee princesses use leaves and herbs bound by vines.
daleth
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
Interesting alternative...

Menstrual Cup:

[link to www.everything2.com]
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
yak
ac
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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i´ve been using a rubber cup, call "the keeper" for the last 4 years now. don´t use pads or plugs anymore.
this thing is great, and they give you a 90 day money back guarantee.
it costs about 30 bucks, has a 10 year life expectancy, and is by far the best sanitary investment i ever made.

google the keeper. comes in two sizes.
Octo
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
Hi ladies hi

In my town there´s a paper mill, and I think they stopped using chlorine for bleaching paper in the 80´s. Now they use oxygen for that process...It sure is better for the environment, any local can confirm that. However, the dioxin from the chlorine bleaching times is still here....but it´s in the fish mostly, so we eat it instead.

There´s also a rumor going around on the web about tampon manufacturers adding asbestos to their products.


Asbestos Concerns

In the last six months, unfounded rumors on the Internet have suggested that U.S tampon manufacturers add asbestos to their products to promote excessive menstrual bleeding in order to sell more tampons. FDA has no evidence of asbestos in tampons or any reports regarding increased menstrual bleeding following tampon use.

Before any tampon is marketed in the U.S., FDA reviews its design and materials. Asbestos is not an ingredient in any U.S. brand of tampon, nor is it associated with the fibers used in making tampons. Moreover, tampon manufacturing sites are subject to inspection by FDA to assure that good manufacturing practices are being followed. Therefore, these
inspections would likely identify any procedures that would expose tampons products to asbestos. If any tampon product was contaminated with asbestos, it would be as a result of tampering, which is a crime. Thus far, FDA has received no reports of tampering. Anyone having knowledge of tampon tampering is urged to notify FDA or a law enforcement officer.


David O. Wallace, MSPH, CIH
Utah State University
5305 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-5305
Phone (435) 797-7155
Fax (435) 797-1575

[link to lists.usu.edu]
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
99 and 44/100s% Bullshit.

Most of this crap traces back to an old urban legend email. See Urban Legends at
[link to www.snopes.com]

I´ve extracted the discussion below:
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Origins: This mish-mash of claims began circulating on the Internet in the summer of 1998. It is usually attributed to "Donna C. Boisseau", who may or may not be a real person but who this missive makes out to be the "woman getting her Ph.D. at University of Colorado @ Boulder" who supposedly researched the information and is now sounding the alarm over her findings.

Two other names have been dragged into the fray by those looking to attribute claims made in the e-mail to an authoritative figure: Stephanie Baker and Dr. Benita S. Katzenellenbogen of the Molecular and Integrative Physiology department of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Neither of them vets the information presented in the Boisseau e-mail, and how their names came to be associated with it is explained on Dr. Katzenellenbogen´s web page denial of involvement. In a nutshell, Baker (Katzenellenbogen´s assistant) foolishly forwarded the e-mail to others, unaware that her signature block linking her to a respected figure in the field of cell and structural biology remained in place, and that this action made it look like the doctor she worked for had verified and supported what this Boisseau warning had to say. The doctor, of course, had no knowledge of any of this until her assistant began to be deluged with phone calls and e-mails about the matter.

(Information about Dr. Katzenellenbogen and her area of expertise can be found on her web page.)

Moving beyond the question this e-mailed scare´s history, we shift to a discussion of the claims made in the missive. I´m sorry, but there is no such thing as a safe tampon — all the demanding in the world isn´t going to change that, so the clarion cry of "Tell everyone to write to the companies," while stirring, is also naive. All-cotton unbleached tampons still leave the user at risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, a fact calls to arms like this one gloss over.

There is some truth in the scare, but a lot a misinformation is mixed in around it. Let´s separate the wheat from the chaff.

This e-mailed warning contains a number of claims about the dangers presented by American-made tampons. The worst of them is the one we can dismiss outright — there´s no truth to the notion of tampon manufacturers putting asbestos in their products to promote bleeding. According to a 23 July 1999 statement by the FDA:


FDA has no evidence of asbestos in tampons or any reports regarding increased menstrual bleeding following tampon use.
Before any tampon is marketed in the U.S., FDA reviews its design and materials. Asbestos is not an ingredient in any U.S. brand of tampon, nor is it associated with the fibers used in making tampons. Moreover, tampon manufacturing sites are subject to inspection by FDA to assure that good manufacturing practices are being followed. Therefore, these inspections would likely identify any procedures that would expose tampons products to asbestos. If any tampon product was contaminated with asbestos, it would be as a result of tampering, which is a crime. Thus far, FDA has received no reports of tampering.

Where this wild idea came from is anyone´s guess. As a rumor, it´s similar to the whisper attached to Carmex lip balm. (People swear the goo contains ground glass under the belief that the more roughed up lips are, the more the product will be needed. That rumor is also baseless. See our Carmex page for more on that legend.)

Getting back to the asbestos claim, we´re told:


Why wasn´t this against the law since asbestos is so dangerous? Because the powers that be, in all their wisdom (not), did not consider tampons as being ingested, and therefore wasn´t illegal or considered dangerous.
This claim is ridiculous. The use of asbestos (an incombustible fibrous material made from magnesium silicate and used for fireproofing, electrical insulation, and chemical filters) is now regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency because of the health hazards it poses, and its use in certain products has been banned outright. It is classified as a known carcinogen, with its "primary routes of potential human exposure" being "dermal contact [emphasis ours], inhalation, and ingestion." If the government regulates asbestos use because it recognizes that asbestos´ coming in contact with skin poses health risks, would it really turn a blind eye towards asbestos-laden products whose intended use requires that they be inserted into the body?


Rayon contributes to the danger of tampons and dioxin because it is a highly absorbent substance and therefore when fibers from the tampons are left behind in the vagina (as usually occurs), it creates a breeding ground for the dioxin, and stays in a lot longer than it would with just cotton tampons.
Though the statement quoted above sounds impressive, it´s difficult to make head or tail of it. Yes, rayon is absorbent and yes, it is used in tampons. How superior absorbency would contribute to any danger presented by left-behind fibers is beyond me (as is how hydrocarbons such as dioxin could "breed").

Anyone who has dealt with wound care knows cotton fibres adhere to wounds like cat sheddings to a pair of new black pants. If a problem is created by fibres from the tampon being left inside a woman after the tampon´s removal, then an all-cotton tampon is going to create more of a problem, not less. Rayon is slick and fibres don´t dislodge from it easily — on these two counts, it´s the polar opposite of cotton. (You doubt my word? Run a cotton T-shirt through one dryer and a rayon blouse through another. Examine the lint traps afterwards.)

Ignoring for the moment the sideways logic of this badly-expressed bit of the scarelore, if the use of rayon in feminine products is something to be wary of, it´s for an entirely different reason. Dioxins are produced through the chlorine bleaching of wood pulp. The chlorine used to produce rayon results in additional dioxins. Rayon means more dioxins. If dioxins are bad, then you´d want to eschew rayon as well.


[Chatelaine, 1997]
The first tampon was introduced into the American market in 1933 by Earl Haas, who developed it for his ballerina wife. At the time, the tampon was all-cotton. It wasn´t until the 1970s that absorbency chemicals were added, and with the chemicals came an increase in cases of TSS. Environmentalists were also concerned that the bleaching process could leave traces of harmful, highly toxic dioxins in women´s bodies.

After a rash of TSS deaths in 1980 and two 1985 U.S. studies linking TSS to tampon use, manufacturers began removing most of the chemicals. Today, most tampons are made of cotton combined with chemically based viscose rayon.

So, is everything hunky-dory? The answer depends on who you talk to. "The bleach-versus-unbleached debate is old news," says Dr. Fred Lapner of Health Canada. "Research tells us there is no contamination of tampons with dioxins." Dr. Tierno has a different take. "It´s simple," he counters. "When tampons were all-cotton, women didn´t die from tampon use as much. Commercial tampons may not kill you, but all-cotton reduces health risks." All-cotton tampons like Terra Femme and Tampax Naturals are now on the market.

Dioxins are nasty, nasty compounds — there´s no dispute about that. Are there enough dioxins in tampons to be harmful? It´s hard to say authoritatively — the experts aren´t being clear on this. The Environmental Protection Agency monitored the level of dioxins in tampons in the late ´80s and again in 1994. In both instances, the amounts present were barely detectable. Is it still too much, though? A number of researchers say even small amounts of dioxins are unacceptable in any product.

Though moving to all-cotton unbleached tampons will eliminate any possibility of contact with dioxins from that source, there´s danger from another direction: conventionally-grown cotton is one of the most pesticide-intensive crops in commercial agriculture. About 10% of the world´s pesticides and 22.5% of all insecticides are used on cotton. According to the Sustainable Cotton Project in California, nearly one-third of a pound of chemicals is used to make just one cotton T-shirt. Don´t even try to imagine how much of it ends up on a tampon.

When it comes to tampons, there are two things to be concerned about — toxic shock syndrome and contact with dioxins, a nasty carcinogen. They´re not the same.

The only way to prevent tampon-induced TSS is to swear off tampons entirely. Though switching to all-cotton or lower-absorbency ones will reduce the TSS risk, it won´t eliminate it. Believing that making the switch to all-cotton will make everything safe is naive. It won´t. There were instances of TSS even in the all-cotton days.

Those looking to reduce TSS risk (I said reduce, not eliminate) would be well advised to gear down to the lowest absorbency tampon that meets their needs and to use pads on days of lighter flow. Do not leave a tampon in overnight; use a pad.

As for dioxins, a 1994 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study concluded that exposure to dioxins, even at low levels, can result in a number of non-cancer health effects in humans, including developmental and reproductive effects, immune suppression, and disruption of regulatory hormones. Other researchers suspect a link between dioxin exposure and endometriosis.

The FDA says there aren´t enough dioxins in tampons to worry about:


[FDA, 1997]
In 1995, FDA again requested the four major manufacturers to submit dioxin levels in the rayon and cotton used to manufacture tampons. The manufacturers used an analytical method approved by EPA. The data from all four manufacturers showed dioxin levels in rayon and cotton to range from non-detectable to 1 part in 3 trillion. A part per trillion is about the same as one teaspoon in a lake fifteen feet deep and a mile square. This is far below the threshold that EPA believes puts consumers at risk of cancer.

(You don´t trust the FDA, you say? Do you put more trust in a possibly fictitious "woman getting her Ph.D. at University of Colorado @ Boulder"?).

There isn´t an easy answer on how to avoid contact with trace amounts of dioxins. Dioxin are a byproduct of the bleaching process most paper products are subject to, but it also gets into the environment through the burning of chemicals. (The theory has been advanced that any wood fire produces dioxins, but that might be taking it a bit far.) Some tampons and sanitary pads contain minute amounts of this chemical, but so do milk cartons. Dioxins also turn up in fish, meat, and dairy products.

Those concerned about exposure to dioxins through their feminine products should make the move to unbleached ones. They should keep in mind though that dioxins are all around them, and changing their brand of tampon or napkin won´t eliminate all exposures to dioxins. Perhaps that´s the greatest disservice e-mails like this do — they leave readers with the impression that a problem is easily solved by making an angry phone call to an errant manufacturer.

Would that it were that simple.

To round this up for those in the bleachers, there is no asbestos in tampons. Depending on the brand, there might be minute amounts of dioxins in some of them, but not — according to the FDA — enough to harm anyone. Thinking consumers might want to reduce their contact with dioxins anyway, trading comfort and absorbency for a bit more peace of mind.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
They were made only to be used by female swimmers in competition.

They should be worn during swimming, and maybe if at a long business meeting, so you don´t worry about leaks. They should be changed every hour.

Some idiots actually sleep with them.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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lmao
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
www.fuckingmachines.com buy one and a hose ...

If not marry a Vampire ,let him transform to a bat and use him as tampoon...

neenerkittyyak
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Firm in the belief that every snippet is a story.
« Let Them Eat War | Main | The new Inquisition »
October 06, 2003
The Bloody Truth, Please: The dioxin tampon controversy
An academic peek into the bloodiest realm: a short paper I wrote concerning dioxin levels in tampons.

The Bloody Truth, Please: The dioxin tampon controversy
Laura Fries

"Have you heard that tampon makers include asbestos in tampons? Why would they do this? Because asbestos makes you bleed more... if you bleed more, you´re going to need to use more [tampons].....Here´s the scoop: Tampons contain two things that are potentially harmful: Rayon, (for absorbency), and dioxin (a chemical used in bleaching the products)....Dioxin is potentially carcinogenic (cancer associated) and is toxic to the immune and reproductive systems... Rayon contributed to the danger of tampons and dioxin because it is a highly absorbent substance. Therefore, when fibers from the tampons are left behind in the vagina (as it usually occurs), it creates a breeding ground for the dioxin....This is the reason why TSS (toxic shock syndrome) occurs"
Excerpt from a widely-circulated email ´forward´ from the 1990s, quoted on Hoax.com


As with any urban legend, there are elements of truth and outright fiction in the "Tampon Dangers" email forward. Although most of what the email alleges is false, there is currently a wealth of controversy concerning the tampon industry, and the real dangers may be ones that not even the most imaginative email has thought of. To begin to understand the public health issues surrounding tampon use, we must first examine the bloody history behind the "Tampon Danger" hype.
Tampons "enjoyed a quiet history" from their inception in 1936 until about 1980, when a rash of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) cases were reported across the country. Although the exact link between tampons and TSS has not been determined, experts currently believe that tampons, especially high-absorbency models, create a breeding ground for the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus by absorbing high volumes of water. The resulting protein concentrations in the vagina become breeding grounds for the bacteria, which is then thought to produce the toxins that cause TSS . During the 1980s TSS outbreak, cases were linked with the usage of Proctor and Gamble´s "Rely" tampons, a line of ´superabsorbent´ tampons which were quickly discontinued because of the controversy . The tampon industry experienced a period of relative calm, until a 1992 congressional subcommittee, led by Ted Weiss, discovered that the FDA had ignored a 1987 memo which pointed to the presence of trace amounts of dioxin in tampons. The memo warned that "the risk of dioxin in tampons can be quite high," and urged further testing: tests that would not take place until nearly a decade later . Allegations which connected the artificial fiber rayon to TSS were untestable until 1993, when the first cotton tampon was introduced . When scientists at the only independent tampon research center in the U.S. compared the new all-cotton brands with their commercial rayon counterparts, they found that rayon tended to exacerbate the conditions which cause TSS: "´Synthetic tampons absorb more water than cotton, leaving behind concentrated proteins that are used by staph. bacteria to create the toxin,´ creating toxin factories. " The researchers found that all twenty U.S. brands of tampons tested produced the TSS toxins.

The links between tampons and dioxin are more complicated due to the uncertain nature of dioxin itself. Dioxin, the general term which describes a group of hundreds of chemicals, is the primary toxic component found in Agent Orange, and the cause of environmental disasters such as those at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY; Times Beach, MO; and Seveso Italy . Dioxin is formed as an unintentional byproduct of industrial processes using chlorine, such as paper and pulp bleaching, the same techniques which are used to bleach the rayon fibers of tampons. Dioxin is also a byproduct of the chemical process that creates rayon, which is made from the cellulose fibers derived from wood pulp . Tampons are thus associated with dioxin in two ways: first in the production of the rayon fibers themselves, and then in the "residues of dioxin" present in the fibers which are a "byproduct of the bleaching process. "
Ted Weiss´ discovery of the 1987 FDA report urging for more testing regarding the connection between tampons and dioxin led to more controversy, as more evidence as to dangers of dioxin were published. In 1994, a highly-anticipated EPA report stated that dioxin was known to result in a number of non-cancerous health effects in humans, and states that there was "no exposure threshold below which dioxin is harmless. " Three years later, in 1997, the International Agency for Research on Cancer announced its findings that the most potent dioxin, TCDD, is Class One Carcinogen and frequently found in wood pulp-- one of the major ingredients in sanitary pads . Following this proclamation, Rep. Carolyn Maloney of NY introduced the Tampon Safety and Research Act, which proposed to fund the NIH to "determine the extent to which dioxin, synthetic fibers, and other additives in tampons pose health risks such as cancer, endometriosis, infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease:" all conditions associated with exposure to dioxin . Maloney´s bill was not passed in 1997, nor on the second pass in 1999, but the tampon industry took note of the implied threat, and changed its bleaching methods to ones that were considered "dioxin-free. " Only after industry practices had been changed in the late nineties were tests of dioxin levels in tampons widely performed. Studies contracted by tampon manufacturers now place dioxin levels at approximately 0.1 to 1 parts per trillion-- one teaspoon in a lake 15 feet deep and a mile square .
These recently performed tampon tests have allowed the industry to dismiss any fears about the connections between tampons, dioxin and TSS. Unfortunately, the science behind these statements ignores the cumulative, aggregate nature of dioxin, and the special risks posed by its introduction into the bloodstream via the vaginal orifice. A widely syndicated Knight-Ridder article, "Tampon Rumors are ridiculous; beer allergies are real but rare," exemplifies the media´s current disavowal strategy. In addition to the gender bias they display by the title of the article, the authors report that the dioxin levels found in tampons are "a really tiny amount and far below the threshold that´s considered a risk for cancer. " Although Nechas and Foley are correct in stating that the dioxin levels are a "really tiny amount," they neglect to mention that the EPA has deemed that there are no safe levels of exposure to dioxin: a conclusion published in 1980 . Although there has been much controversy within the scientific community as to the exact nature of the threat posed by dioxin, a 1994 revision of the original EPA report found that the risk of getting cancer from dioxin is 10 times higher than originally estimated . The reason behind the revision? The original study didn´t properly take into account the 2-year life span of its laboratory rats, which hid the aggregate threat posed by long-term accumulation of dioxin levels. In addition to the "severe reproductive and developmental problems," "immune system damage" and "interference with regulatory hormones" cited by the study, dioxin also poses risks due to its hydrophobic nature . As such, the "really tiny" trace amounts of dioxin present in tampons leave the hydrophilic rayon fibers, and become permanently absorbed into fat cells. As the typical American woman is estimated to use upwards of "11,000 tampons in her lifetime," the cumulative potential of dioxin present in tampons alone is alarming .
Nechas and Foley´s syndicated article goes on to state that "the only reason that any dioxin might be found [in tampons] at all... might be because of environmental sources such as air, water or the ground before processing the cotton or rayon . Unintentionally, these authors point to one of the major problems with the tampon industry´s approach to the "dioxin dilemma:" the industry only eliminated one potential cause of dioxin contamination. Changing the bleaching procedures did nothing to prevent the creation of dioxin during the manufacture of the rayon fibers themselves, nor did it (as Nechas and Foley point out) alter the levels of dioxin present in the fibers due to prior "environmental" contamination. The FDA chief of health science branch acknowledges this fact with the non-reassuring statement: "You could end up with dioxin in rayon or cotton simply because of decades of pollution... But what we know today is that you will find more dioxin already in your body than in any tampon. "
Finally, Nechas and Foley contribute to the confusion surrounding tampons and their health risks by stating that: "The rayon in tampons doesn´t cause toxic shock syndrome...And the risk is low in [any] case. Only five cases occurs in all of 1997. " The perceived decline in the amount of TSS cases has allowed the tampon industry to ignore criticisms, which is echoed in popular opinion. However, this declension may be due more to under-reportation based both on the nature of the disease and its treatment. The symptoms of TSS mimic the flu, and the treatment is remarkably similar: making it entirely possible for an individual to unwittingly undergo a bout. As an FDA article admonishes its readers in an "On the Teen Scene" article: "A first episode may be so mild that you don´t connect the symptoms with TSS, but the next time, the symptoms may be severe. Once you´ve had TSS, you´re more likely to get it than someone who has never had it. "
I experienced firsthand the reluctance of the medical profession to label an illness "TSS" when I contracted the illness in fall of 1999. Having been in college all of three weeks, I came down with an intense "flu," with all the hallmark symptoms of TSS: high fever, vomiting, a rash that resembled a sunburn, the dizziness that comes with a marked drop in blood pressure, and the water retention associated with the suspension of kidney function. Although at first University nurses were stumped as to the nature of my ailment, I was finally diagnosed. The treatment for TSS is antibiotics, drugs to lower the temperature, and large amounts of fluids: fairly generic procedures which are used to treat a number of illnesses. I was under the (inept) care of the University Health system for some time, when I took a turn for the worse, and ended up at the nearby emergency room: where my earlier TSS diagnosis was ignored. The antibiotics I had been taking for several days had eliminated enough of the toxins, and my illness was chalked up to a urinary tract infection. Although anecdotal, I believe my experiences highlight one of the major flaws in the collection of TSS statistics: the prescription of antibiotics, which has become standard medical practice for most ailments, eliminates the bacterial evidence that would point to TSS as the cause of the illness. Furthermore, I find it highly improbable that I conquered the 1/53,298,000 odds against infection: suggesting that TSS is more widespread than commonly assumed. The addresses used throughout the FDA Teen article also give rise to speculation as to the real prevalence of TSS: If there are truly only 5 cases a year, then why does the article continually make use of the phrase, "If you´ve ever had TSS before "? These factors, when considered en masse, point to the possibility that TSS occurrences are much higher than Nechas, Foley, and the tampon industry would have us believe.

Bleeding us dry: the real dangers inside us
Urban myths about the dangers of tampons, in combination with the half-truths and misinformation disseminated by both the tampon industry and the scientifically illiterate media, combine to create an altogether hostile environment for the exploration of the real connection between tampons, dioxin and TSS. Public perception, shaped by these influences, has "vagified" these public health concerns, and the prevention of tampon-related illnesses has been relegated to the female consumer. Warned briefly three times on the exterior of a tampon box, and in pamphlet form on the interior, the menstruating female assumes the risks of TSS every time she uses a tampon: liabilities the 705 million dollar tampon industry sheds like so much uterine lining. The scientific dialogue which ought to be occurring has been reduced to a vagina monologue: the "ridiculous tampon rumors" of Nechas and Foley´s formulation. Although dioxin´s eventual impact has been estimated to "rival" that of DDT in 1960s, its continued absorption goes uncontested on a monthly basis .
The good news? The rumors about asbestos in tampons are completely, 100% unfounded.
Thanks bee to God
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
What a relief, I sure am glad that they aren´t putting nefarious shit in them like this anymore

[link to www.tamponart.com]
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
A surgical nurse I know says when they do hysterectomies she can always determine the ones who used tampons because they have a wad of built up fibers up there.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
put a sock in it....
Shadow Dancer
12/08/2005 10:12 AM
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Re: Women...before you use another tampon, read this!
TSS

Toxic Shock Syndrome is one of many conditions of damming the flow...there are plenty of others


go with the flow...


flower