From the June 2000 Idaho Observer:

Women: Seriously consider cotton

Dioxin, rayon, asbestos may be bad for your health

By The Idaho Observer

Like so many other products that have been granted approval by federal regulatory agencies as being safe, the results are in and women who repeatedly use dioxin-bleached pads and tampons containing asbestos and rayon to absorb their monthly menstrual flow are leaving themselves open to a myriad of serious health problems. The list of medical complications from toxic sanitary products include immune system suppression, toxic shock syndrome, endometriosis, birth canal cysts and infections that can lead to the development of reproductive tract cancers and sterility.

Dr. Clyde Reynolds of Forest Grove, Oregon, recently identified the cause of one of his patient's many ailments as being her choice of “feminine protection.” “This young girl (in her early 40s) was an extremely active and physically fit Olympic-class cyclist who was tired all of the time, developed a smelly vaginal discharge and a cyst on her cervix,” explained Dr. Reynolds who also described how a painful and itchy rash spread from her vaginal area to her inner thighs, abdomen, underarms and neck.

The experienced naturopath went through the drill of testing the woman for allergies to fabrics she wore, body and laundry soaps she used, chemicals to which she was exposed and every other thing in her environment that could possibly be responsible for her steadily deteriorating condition. Dr. Reynolds said, “After a lot of testing, I became convinced that the tampons she had been using was the source of her problems.”

“Since switching to all cotton tampons, her symptoms have disappeared and have not recurred in almost eight months,” said Dr. Reynolds.

This one example is extreme due to the nature of this woman's passion for cycling, but it should be a warning to all women who use products, particularly tampons, that are made from dioxin-bleached synthetic rayon fibers.

There are more than 75 known isomers of Dioxin, which is also known as TCDD. According to Taber's Medical Dictionary, 18th Edition, 1997, “This chemical is extremely important because of its being an unwanted and undesirable contaminant in widely used herbicides and preservatives.”

Dioxin is a cumulative poison that does not readily metabolize. The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that there are no levels of dioxin exposure that are safe.

Taber's goes on to say that low-level exposure to dioxin can cause liver damage, peripheral neuropathy, central nervous system changes and psychiatric difficulties,” and that dioxin, “.is one of the most toxic substances to which workers in the industrial and agricultural environment can be exposed.”

Taber's ends its description of dioxin by directing the reader to, “SEE: Agent Orange.”

Dr. Zane Gard was a family practitioner in Sturgeon, Mo., in 1979 when a trainload of Monsanto pesticides containing just a few ounces of the dioxin toxin caused all ground life within three miles of the spill to die. According to Dr. Gard, who has since become a pioneer in the field of clinical ecology, to this day, Sturgeon's incidence of cancer is still several times higher than the national average.

Women should also be wary of feminine hygiene products that contain asbestos. Identified as a carcinogen in the 70s, the removal and disposal of all asbestos-containing building materials became a manic, nation-wide obsession.

Essence magazine recently reported that companies include asbestos in their products for no other reason than to boost sales and usage because asbestos promotes menstrual flow.

The manufacturers of feminine products have known since at least 1989 that their wares are of toxicological concern to their users. The May/June, 1995 edition of Ms. Magazine reported that, in 1989, activists in England mounted a campaign against chlorine bleaching of tampons and pads. It reportedly took six weeks and 50,000 letters to convince the manufacturers of these products to replace toxic bleach with non-toxic oxygen bleach.

Though women in countries all over the world have lobbied for and have been given non-toxic sanitary products, American women are still in the dark about the problem and the federal government hasn't stepped in to remove this serious threat to their health.

We recommend that all women stop using Tampax (Tambrands), Playtex, O.B. and Kotex products that contain these known toxins. We also recommend that women get away from inserting tampons and switch to using 100 percent cotton pads.

Women's monthly cycle is as old as life on earth. It is only recently, in the age of convenience, that menstruation has become a $multi-billion industry that compromises women's health and their ability to have children. Rather than continue to expose ourselves to toxic tampons, perhaps it is time to talk to our grandmothers and ask them how they managed to handle their monthly flow before Kotex and the rest began mass marketing toxic tampons.

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