Are tampons safe? That’s the question on the table as Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced a bill that would require the National Institutes of Health to study feminine hygiene products and verify manufacturers’ safety reports.Today, the FDA relies on manufacturers to vouch for the safety of their products. Maloney’s Robin Danielson Act, named for a woman who died of toxic shock syndrome associated with the use of superabsorbent tampons, would force the NIH to assess “the risks posed by dioxin, synthetic fibers, chemical fragrances, and other components of feminine hygiene products.”
The non-profit Women’s Voices for the Earth has long called for better oversight of feminine hygiene products, especially given toxic pesticide residues and evidence of dioxin–called a “highly toxic” and “persistent environmental pollutant” by the World Health Organization. The average woman will use nearly 17,000 tampons and pads over the course of her lifetime.
Maloney has introduced similar bills nine times over the past 18 years, with none making it to the floor before a male-dominated Congress. While we wait for better oversight, here are two things you can do:
1. Choose USDA Certified Organic tampons and pads or consider a menstrual cup. (Read about why I love my menstrual cup here.)