While many women use tampons and pads without giving it a second thought, most women would be extremely disturbed to learn the ingredient list. Upon investigation, pads and tampons contain ingredients such as chlorine dioxide, methyldibromo glutaronitrile, polyethylene, and other contaminants. These products come in contact with some of the thinnest skin of the human body and get absorbed directly into the blood stream, increasing risk for the toxic chemicals to accumulate in vital organs. According to research done by Women’s Voices, pads and tampons are full of harmful and toxic chemicals that have been linked to side effects such as hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects, and infertility, allergic reactions, and endocrine disruption. Many of the components of tampons and pads are dangerous for the body. The plastic applicator is made of phthalates, which is a plastic known to deregulate gene expression. The synthetics of the tampon material restrict airflow and can promote bacteria growth. The white color of the tampon is achieved by chlorine bleach, which can create toxic dioxin (EPA report). This can lead to complications such as abnormal tissue and cell growth. In addition to being harmful for the body, pads and tampons are terrible for the environment, as most are made from crude oil plastic and each pad is the equivalent of four plastic bags.
With so many risks, women should start moving away from pad and tampon use and look to new and innovative feminine hygiene products, such as the menstrual cup. There are no health risks associated with the cup, and no harmful chemicals go into your body. Women need to be informed about what they are putting into their bodies and should be warned about the danger of pads and tampons. Be the change your body (and your wallet) wants. Cup Up!