Most of us women have been using sanitary protection since our early teens, and probably will get through tens of thousands of tampons or pads in our lifetime. But apart from being warned about the possibility of toxic shock syndrome from tampons, few of us think about the safety of the products we’re using, or how natural they are.

Did you know, for example, that conventional tampons and sanitary pads are made primarily from synthetic and petrochemical ingredients, even though they may look like cotton – and feel like cotton? Let’s have a closer look at the problems associated with them, and why you should consider swapping to pure, natural sanitary products made from pure organic cotton.

We asked Cassandra Barns, Nutritonist to give us 10 reasons, why we should chose organic tampons.

1. The dangers of dioxins

Most conventional tampons and pads are made primarily from rayon and/or viscose, two synthetic ingredients (if the product contains cotton, it is only likely to be a small percentage). One of the problems with rayon and viscose is that they are bleached using chlorine. This creates chemicals called dioxins as a by-product, traces of which can remain in the final tampon or pad.[1] If dioxins are absorbed into the body, they can collect in our fatty tissues, and build up over time. This build-up of dioxins has been linked to many health problems, including hormonal disruption, infertility and abnormal tissue growth.[2]

2. Petrochemicals

You’re probably aware of the plastic-feeling cover on many modern sanitary pads. It doesn’t look or feel very natural, and it isn’t. But the smooth coating on tampons is also made from plastic ingredients derived from crude oil, such as polypropylene. Do you really want to put petrochemicals inside your vagina?

3. Super Absorbent Powders (SAPs)

Pads and tampons are also made with chemical ‘super absorbent powders’ such as sodium polyacrylate, which may cause irritation for some women.

4. Safety studies have not considered lifetime exposure

This is an important point. It has been reported that the amounts of chemicals such as dioxins in sanitary products are tiny and much lower than what we are exposed to in our food. But specific studies have not been carried out on the potential effects of a lifetime’s exposure to these substances through sanitary protection, and may not have considered that they can be more easily absorbed than substances we take in through our food .

5. Toxins on – or next to – your skin could be more harmful than the ones you swallow

In the food and drink we consume, there are small amounts of undesirable substances such as pesticides, even if we eat mainly organic food and filtered water. But the enzymes in our digestive tract can break these down and excrete them, to some extent. Even if they are absorbed, the blood from the digestive tract flows first through the liver, where it is filtered to remove more toxic or waste substances before they can reach the body’s tissues.

On the other hand, toxins absorbed through the skin don’t come into contact with digestive enzymes, and can circulate around the body before reaching the liver. This makes them more likely to be trapped in tissues anywhere in our body. To make things worse, the delicate internal skin in the vagina and the surrounding tissues is highly absorbent – more so than our fairly tough external skin. So, the bottom line is that we need to take even more care to avoid exposing the vaginal area to toxins than we do to avoid consuming them.

6. Synthetic materials = fibres left behind in the vagina = bacterial infection

Another potential problem with tampons made from rayon and viscose – especially those designed to be super-absorbent – is that they may leave fibres behind in the vagina as they absorb liquid and swell up.   These remaining fibres may make it easier for ‘unfriendly’ bacteria to grow and flourish in the vagina, potentially leading to vaginal infections and even increasing the likelihood of toxic shock syndrome. Pure cotton fibres do not shed to the same extent.

7. Thrush, anyone?

Plastics and other synthetic materials restrict the flow of air to allow the area to breathe as well as natural fibres do. This means that synthetics materials trap moisture and heat, which increases your likelihood of thrush too.

8. Fragrances

Sanitary products and feminine washes containing perfumes or odour neutralisers are potentially the worst culprits of all. As well as dioxins and crude oil, artificial fragrances contain many other chemicals that are linked to a range of adverse effects, especially allergies.[3] Fragrances can also affect the delicate vaginal flora, further increasing our likelihood of thrush or other infections.

9. Ultimately, we don’t know what’s in our sanitary products

The ingredients and substances used in the production of sanitary products do not have to be listed on the label. So you can’t check what you’re getting as you can with foods and body care products.

10. Impact on the environment

The plastics and synthetic materials used in conventional sanitary products mean they are not biodegradable, and so have an impact on the environment too, whether incinerating or into landfill and worse still if they are flushed down the loo causing drain blockages.

About Organyc

Organyc products are made with organic cotton, leaving you confident that nothing nasty will be irritating the most sensitive part of your body. 

A completely natural fibre, cotton is one of nature’s most absorbent materials.  

Not only is it hypoallergenic, cotton is naturally breathable due to its unique structure and actually becomes stronger when wet, keeping you dry and comfortable for longer.

  • 100% Organic Certified Cotton
  • Free from parabens, dioxins and chemicals
  • Free from synthetic ingredients
  • GM-free organic cotton
  • Free from Super Absorbent Polymers
  • Suitable for those with sensitive skin
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Organyc sales help support The Orchid Project

The full Organyc range includes Tampons, Sanitary Pads and Panty Liners, Intimate Care, Beauty and Baby.  Organyc is available from Planet Organic, Wholefoods Market, Revital, independent health shops, nationwide pharmacies and online at www.organyc.uk

Organyc Organic Tampons, from £2.59, Organyc Organic Cotton Sanitary Pads, from £3.09, Organyc Intimate Feminine Wash, £6.95