These days, we have more options than ever for dealing with our periods, from tampons and sanitary towels to menstrual cups, period panties and reusable pads. Tampons remain one of the most popular period products out there for women, being one of the easiest and most affordable. Increasingly, conscientious consumers are shifting their focus to organic toiletries, mindful of the chemical soup that is the consumer products industry. Organic toothpastes, perfumes, deodorants and even tanning lotions are more readily available than ever before.
But what do we mean by ‘organic’ when we’re talking about tampons? Does it really matter whether or not your tampon is organic anyway? After all, tampons (should) only stay in the body for up to eight hours at a time.
If you’re looking for the short answer: yes it matters. The vagina is one of the most absorbent areas of the body; it has a thin, mucous membrane that absorbs toxins and chemicals more readily than your outer skin – and conventional tampons are crawling with them. That’s why Grace & Green organic tampons are made from 100% certified organic cotton with zero pesticides or chemicals, designed to protect you naturally.
Surprised? Here’s why you should consider making the switch.
Toxins in tampons
The reality of life today is that chemicals are everywhere. Many of these chemicals are associated with cancer and other medical problems. The average woman uses upwards of 10,000 tampons in her lifetime, which, when you consider the number of chemicals contained in non-organic tampons, really adds up. Conventional tampons contain dioxins, synthetic fibers and petrochemical additives – not to mention plasticising chemicals linked to endocrine disruption – which manufacturers are not required to disclose. This blend makes for one toxic cocktail.
Organic vs. conventional tampons
Let’s talk about some of the key differences between organic and conventional tampons, starting with the key ingredient – cotton.
Be under no illusions: conventional cotton farming is highly pesticide-intensive, responsible for 16% of all the insecticides and 6.8% of all herbicides used worldwide (Source). It destroys ecosystems, poisons animals, contaminates soil and water, and endangers workers. Daily exposure to chemical pesticides and fertilisers with a lack of safety precautions leaves many cotton workers vulnerable to illness and infertility. By choosing to support organic farming practices, you help people as well as the planet.
Most conventional tampons are made from non-organic cotton in addition to cheaper materials like rayon and polyester. Rayon is a fibre made from wood pulp; during the bleaching process dioxin is produced, which is classified as a known human carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Organic tampons skip the bleach, which means they contain zero dioxins.
Ever noticed how some tampon brands claim to have a ‘fresh’ scent? Fragranced tampons are designed to pander to women’s insecurities ‘down there’, an unnecessary and potentially harmful marketing ploy. These fragrances contain all sorts of chemicals that have no place in a woman’s nether regions. Periods shouldn’t have a strong smell if you’re changing your towel or tampon regularly. Organic tampons are fragrance-free and all the better for it – who says your vagina needs to smell like potpourri?
Did we mention the vagina is essentially an internalised sponge? The inside of the vagina is highly permeable, which means it rapidly absorbs chemicals – so much so that it has been rediscovered as a potential route for systemic drug delivery. If you wouldn’t put harsh chemicals on your skin, you certainly shouldn’t be putting them in your lady business. End of. The beauty of organic tampons is that they contain 100% organic cotton and nothing else. You can buy them with or without applicators, just the same as regular tampons. Organic tampons are natural, ethical and biodegradable – everything tampons should be.
Can you get toxic shock syndrome from organic tampons?
This is a commonly asked question, so let’s examine the facts.
Toxic Shock Syndrome is a systemic illness caused by bacterial infection that affects the entire body. It’s dangerous and potentially fatal – but rare. Symptoms include sudden high fever, feeling faint or dizzy, nausea, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhoea, a sunburn-like rash and clammy skin. Around half of all TSS cases are tampon-related.
Changing your tampon frequently, washing your hands before and after, and storing them in a cool, dry place will reduce your chances of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome. The risk is associated with absorbency and how long the tampon is left in the vagina, so the more absorbent and the longer your tampon stays in, the higher the risk. But to reiterate, cases are rare. TSS is a medical emergency but curable with prompt treatment.
So what are the risks of organic vs. non-organic tampons? Really, it comes down to absorbency and length of use more than it does ingredients. However, non-organic tampons are more prone to shedding their cheap rayon and viscose fibres, which can get left behind in the vagina, becoming a risk factor for infection. Ultimately the risks are small either way, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What are the best organic tampons?
The best organic tampons are made from 100% organic cotton, unlike regular tampons, which are made from a mix of rayon, polyester and non-organic cotton laden with chemicals, bleaches and pesticides. We use 100% certified organic cotton for all our organic feminine products – and that’s it. Organic tampons have the added benefit of being completely natural, biodegradable, ethical and vegan. As for applicators, cardboard applicators are biodegradable too, so you don’t need to worry about them sitting in landfill for hundreds of years.
Our certified organic tampons are available in three absorbencies, ensuring you have the correct product for your level of flow.
What’s the bottom line?
Why switch to organic tampons? For one thing, organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides and is GM-free, which kinder to the body and the environment. Organic tampons do not contain any additional synthetic materials, which means they are biodegradable and will break down naturally in landfill – along with our biodegradable wrappers and packaging. Organic cotton is the perfect ingredient for period products that come into contact with the sensitive and highly absorbent vaginal area.
Our goal is to provide effective, organic, biodegradable period products that are kind to both women’s bodies and the environment, combining pioneering design and innovative manufacturing with high quality, natural and organic ingredients. Our range of period products is made from 100% organic cotton, certified by GOTS and ICEA, carries the Cotton Seal and is FDA approved.
What’s more, as part of our social impact work, we help support some amazing organisations that address acute environmental and social issues connected with periods.
When you buy 100% organic cotton tampons, you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. We believe pesticides, plastics, dioxins and dyes have no place near your noonie, or anywhere else for that matter. Subscribe and get our organic period care conveniently delivered according to your cycle – no setup fee, no long-term commitment.