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What’s Small, Possibly Dangerous, and Probably in your Purse?

I always tease my friend about being ultra healthy. She eats clean, works out regularly, and is very conscious of the products that she uses. While I admire her commitment to a healthy lifestyle, I wasn’t converting to it. However, she recently showed me a video that made question all of my habits.

There has been a great focus on what we put in our bodies and the demand for better products. Shampoos and skincare can be found without parabens and sulfates. Grocery stores now have organic everything. While these changes are great, there is one area that still gets little attention in regard to its safety and efficacy.

Feminine hygiene products are still somewhat taboo to discuss. The “Pink Tax” earned headlines confirming that women pay more than men for personal care products. Yet no one really discusses what exactly is in those products. A chance encounter with a woman led my friend to uncover just that.

I was always concerned about tampons due to their link to TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). I never thought to question what was in a pad. Through her research, she uncovered a possible link between pads and Dioxins. According to the World Health Organization, Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants. They are mainly found in the fatty tissue of animals, also dairy products, fish and shellfish. The worst part about Dioxins: Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. These harmful substances may be lurking in your pads and tampons!

I was horrified and angry. I started looking into it further and it went from bad to worse. The information goes back over a decade, yet it is still not common knowledge. Independent testing by an organization Women’s Voices for the Earth indicated that Always pads (manufactured by Proctor & Gamble) emit toxic chemicals. The surface of the pads are bleached with chlorine to give them that ultra white look. A 2013 Huffington Post article by Dr. Joseph Mercola breaks down why the chemical being present in pads are so dangerous. Skin is highly permeable, and once this comes in contact with your skin it is into your bloodstream. Though also found in food, the digestive system has enzymes that help break down potentially harmful substances.

According to a 2015 CNN article, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York has introduced legislation nine times since 1997 that would require manufacturers to be more transparent and disclose the complete makeup of tampons, pads, and other feminine hygiene products. Her bill has failed to move past the floor each time.

I wanted to share this information because African American women are already predisposed to certain reproductive issues. We are more likely to get fibroids and the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. We need to be aware of anything that could harm us, especially if it’s as common as a pad or tampon. The good news is, there are healthier alternatives than traditional pads and tampons. Check the video below for a few of these options and more information on Dioxins.