Writing about tampons is slightly off-topic for our site, but given that it relates to personal care and women (the majority of our audience), we felt it an important topic to cover so that we can raise awareness. When we use tampons we often give more thought to applicator-type, absorbency and brand, then we do to the actual tampon itself. But the fact is that most commercial tampons are made from either non-organic cotton, synthetic fibers, animal ingredients, or a combination of the three. Between synthetic fibers and animal ingredients (wool pulp), it would seem that cotton is the safe choice, right?
When you consider that approximately 30% of all cotton grown worldwide is genetically modified, it might make you think twice. In 2010, approximately 93% of the cotton planted in the United States was genetically modified. By being genetically modified (GM), it means that insecticide is already in the plant. Further, even with GM crops, insecticides are still used and, due to the commonly heavy use of pesticides on it, cotton is considered the dirtiest crop in the world, . When you pair that information with the fact that the vagina is the most chemically-absorbent part of a woman’s body, it makes us shudder to consider what exactly is happening when using tampons that are not organic.
Organic tampons are pesticide and chemical free tampons, but as much as the demand for organic food is growing, the push for organic feminine care products is not as heavy. Perhaps it is due to the subject matter embarrassing some, or perhaps it is because we just don’t consider the facts, but using non-organic tampons is essentially putting a direct line of pesticides into the body. An organic tampon is 100% cotton and made from cotton crops that use neither GM seeds or pesticides. Further, organic tampons are biodegradable, which is much nicer for the environment.
So exactly what are tampons that are non-organic? Put aside the pesticide-rich, non-organic cotton and you are left with synthetic (such as rayon) and animal products. Also, many brands of feminine products use something called Super Absorbent Powders (SAPs), which help bolster absorption, but contain ingredients that are derived from crude oil. Wool pulp is also used, which can be irritating for those who are allergic to wool products. Further, many tampons are bleached with chlorine, which leaves behind a toxin called dioxin. While many argue that it is just a small amount of dioxin, wearing tampons that simultaneously contain dioxin, synthetic fibers, and/or non-organic cotton is not a healthy mix for a woman’s most sensitive area.
You can get organic tampons with applicator or without, in a variety of absorbencies. Some of our favorite brands include Seventh Generation, Emerita, and Organyc. These brands use 100% cotton and recyclable applicators. When they do bleach, they use only hydrogen peroxide. Most importantly, they are free of harmful non-organic cotton, synthetic fibers, SAPs and animal ingredients. When making the decision to live organically, remember that it is not just food that is important. It is an important switch for everything that you put in your body.