Monday, July 26, 2010

Dioxins in menstrual products

I'm traveling right now, and while I normally use organic pads (see here why you should avoid tampons), I had a limited amt of baggage so so thought I'd just buy some form the drugstore. I know they have dioxin and bleach and icky things, but the absorption is much less than using tampons and I thought, just this once...

But then I saw this article, and next time, I am going to trek to the health food store and, if I must use disposables, get dioxin free natural pads. Ugh.

Dioxin & Feminine Hygiene Products

According to a February 2000 report from the Food & Drug Administration, tampons and feminine hygiene products currently sold in the U.S. are made of cotton, rayon, or blends of rayon and cotton. Even though these products are now produced using elemental chlorine-free or totally chlorine free bleaching processes, these methods can still generate dioxins at "trace levels." Thus, there may be low amounts of dioxin present from environmental sources in cotton, rayon, or rayon/cotton tampons and feminine hygiene products. By contrast, a report released by The US Environmental Protection Agency clearly describes dioxin as a serious public health threat. The EPA report states, there is no "safe" level of exposure to dioxin - even trace amounts are a risk. Further, the EPA report confirmed that dioxin is "a cancer hazard to people;" that exposure to dioxin can also cause severe reproductive and developmental problems (at levels 100 times lower than those associated with its cancer causing effects); and that dioxin can cause immune system damage and interfere with regulatory hormones.

Dioxin exposure to women in particular, poses additional risks than just that of their own health: it crosses the placenta into the growing infant and is also present in the fatty breast milk, thereby exposing the child.

Evidence of dioxin as a catalyst for Endometriosis has been well-documented. In a 1996 Environmental Protection Agency study, dioxin exposure was linked with increased risks for Endometriosis, as well as the increased risks of pelvic inflammatory disease, reduction of fertility, and interference with normal fetal and childhood development. The EPA conclusions regarding dioxin exposure are particularly alarming in light of a 1989 Food and Drug Administration report, which stated that "possible exposures from all other medical device sources would be dwarfed by the potential tampon exposure." Dr. Philip Tierno, Jr., Director of Clinical Microbiology and Diagnostic Immunology at New York University Medical Center states that "dioxins, though they exist in the environment, have a worse effect when they contact mucous surfaces like the vagina."

Read more about how dioxin levels in menstrual products--and playground sand, thanks, Jack Welch!) are almost ENTIRELY UNREGULATED and what they found when they tested some Playtex tampons: click here for UGH.

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