You may not know this, but in the 1970s and 1980s, over 50 women in the United States died because of their tampons. While the FDA and the entire feminine hygiene industry have done their best to suppress this little tidbit — and dismiss it as a “rumor,” — the fact remains that tampons are notoriously dangerous little products.
Tampons made from certain synthetic fibers have been found to harbor harmful, pathogenic bacteria and release amounts of toxic chemicals into the human body that are substantial enough to have killed or injured over a thousand women. The Organic Consumers Association has even reported that a 1975 memo from Proctor and Gamble revealed that their Rely tampons contained cancer-causing agents and that the product altered the natural state of the vagina. The organization also notes that Rely tampon products were pulled off the shelves just five years later in 1980.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, so? That was over 25 years ago!” But unfortunately, the sordid nature of tampon production is not just a thing of the past. In 2015, it was revealed that upwards of 85% of tampons contained glyphosate — the chemical used in Monsanto’s Roundup. Roundup is also the herbicide of choice for spraying GMO cotton crops.
A study conducted by researchers from the University of La Plata, located in Argentina, revealed that 85% of cotton-based feminine hygiene products tested positive for glyphosate. A shocking 62% also tested positive for AMPA, which is a derivative of glyphosate. GMO cotton is resilient against glyphosate and consequently, the herbicide is often sprayed on plants even when the cotton buds are open. As you can imagine, cotton is pretty absorbent and makes this practice rather problematic.
Glyphosate has even been found to cause cancer at parts per trillion concentrations, meaning very, very small amounts of the chemical can lead to health problems. It is really no surprise that even low-level exposure from tampon use could lead to cancer.
Tampons were not the only hygiene product guilty of glyphosate contamination. Cotton balls, q-tips, sanitary pads, gauze and wipes were also found to contain traces of the toxic chemical. Going organic for all your hygiene needs — or at least for feminine products — can help minimize your exposure to this harmful herbicide.
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