In the past year or so, there has been increased dialogue on what is better: traditional or organic tampons? The big argument is that traditional tampons contain some suspect substances, like chlorine and pesticides used for the cotton production. The most popular argument is that the vagina is the most absorbent part of the body, and tampon users are particularly worried about that fact that, with people with menstrual cycles buying on average up to 11,000 tampons over the course of their lifetime, it all adds up.
So, should we be concerned?
First of all, the argument about the chemicals in traditional tampons has been reduced to nothing to worry about. Many traditional tampon companies have replaced or reduced many of the chemicals that were used in the past, like swapping out chlorine for processes like elemental chlorine-free bleaching or totally chlorine-free bleaching agents.
If you’re still concerned about issues like irritation, multiple gynecologists have cited that reoccurring issue to be the fault of scented traditional tampons, and suggest that unscented traditional tampons will do the same thing as organic ones.
Now, of course everyone has the right to decide how they want to go about purchasing menstrual care products, but I have an issue when companies start touting their “organic” products as better for you or the environment when that may not actually be true. Remember when we were just discussing our concern about the pesticides used in traditional tampon cotton? Well I’ve got some news for you. The non-GMO, organic cotton used in organic tampons still requires pesticides. It turns out that cotton in general is a super sensitive crop, and to grow organic cotton requires double the amount of resources, including pesticides. So in that case, it’s not better for you and it’s certainly not better for the environment.
The most insidious part of the whole thing is organic tampon companies claiming a link between traditional tampons and toxic shock syndrome. This is flat out unethical. The reason why traditional tampons are linked to toxic shock syndrome is because cotton is absorbent and the vagina is absorbent, therefore the vagina can reabsorb the menstrual blood if the tampon is left in for too long. Guess what? Organic tampons are also made with cotton, and it doesn’t matter how much “cleaner” the cotton is, it’s still an absorbent material. Claiming that organic tampons, however subtly, are not linked to toxic shock syndrome is incredibly careless.
On top of all that, it’s just plain expensive. Seven dollars will get you a 34-pack of Kotex, a traditional brand, or a 16-pack from Honest Company, an organic tampon brand.
So if you really want what’s best for your body and the environment, concerning your menstrual care, my suggestion is that you go out and try a menstrual cup. They aren’t single-use plastic, and it’s not made from an absorbent material, therefore no TSS.
Chat with you next time,