ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Toxic Truth About Menstrual Products

Updated on October 29, 2016

Last fall, my mother admitted that she didn't understand my blog. One day I was writing about wedding dress shopping, another day I was talking about tackling tough towel odor or making your own in-wash scent boosters, and then a DIY dog shampoo. It's who I am - I love to write about anything and everything. Lovingly, my mother asked me, "Why don't you write about something that matters?" Now, I have a strong feeling that my mother was not suggesting I write about menstrual products, but today, that is exactly what I will be doing - examining the toxic truth about menstrual products.

Suspecting I might have an allergy or sensitivity to something in the conventional menstrual products that I was using, I decided to take a look at the list of ingredients to see if I could narrow down the possibilities. To my surprise, such lists were not readily available. Because menstrual products are classified as 'medical devices', companies are not required to list the ingredients. After a few moments of pure disbelief, followed by a few moments of fact checking, I was speechless. I'll admit, I was also a little angry.

Given that manufacturers are not required to list their ingredients, it should come as no surprise that there are no regulations requiring them to specify 'GM cotton' on labels.

In her YouTube video, 'Period Hatin', Laci Green talks about the widely accepted idea that we should not talk openly about our periods and that it is something we should conceal. Ideas such as these are why I have been using conventional menstrual products without knowing what they contain. It was never something I ever thought to question but instead something I simply accepted.

I can still feel myself blushing as I type this, but when I first heard of the menstrual cup two years ago, I didn't think of it as a healthier alternative because the thought of conventional menstrual products containing chemicals had never crossed my mind. I assumed the benefits of alternatives were purely environmental and financial.

The truth is, conventional pads and tampons contain a number of potentially dangerous chemicals.


Dioxin is a by-product of chlorine-bleaching, which is a process used to whiten pads and tampons and a known human carcinogen, is one of the most dangerous chemicals that conventional menstrual products contain.

Dioxin, which gets stored in the fatty tissues of the body 1, has been linked to immune system suppression, and reproductive and developmental problems 2, as well as cancer, infertility, Endometriosis and organ failure 1.

Not all conventional pads and tampons contain dioxin, but because manufacturers are not required to list what their products contain, we don't know for sure which ones contain it and which ones don't 1.


Although cotton crops account for only 2.4% of the world's total cropland, they use 16% of the world's supply of pesticides, which costs more than $2 billion annually 3.

Some of the most common pesticides used on cotton are aldicarb, parathion and methamidopho 3.

Non-organic cotton is one of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crops in the world.

Pesticide exposure has been linked to cancer, reproductive and neurological issues, suppressed immune function, obesity, heart disease and autism 3.

The conventional [non-organic] cotton pads and tampons readily available are likely made from cotton that has been sprayed with pesticides.

I know a lot of people who say that the only reason they are not put off by the thought of pesticides being used on food they eat is because they wash it before consuming. But what about menstrual products? We can assume they go through some sort of cleaning process, but that likely involves more chemicals. We don't purchase conventional menstrual products and then wash them prior to using. We remove conventional menstrual products from their packaging and we use them immediately.

Other Chemicals

In addition to dioxin and pesticides, conventional pads and tampons may also contain synthetic fibers such as rayon and polyester, genetically modified cotton, glues and adhesives, artificial dyes and fragrances, BPA, phthalates, polyethylene, polypropylene, odor neutralizing chemicals and propylene glycol 4.

Synthetic materials such as polyester and miscellaneous plastics limit air circulation, which can contribute to bacterial and yeast infections. And, synthetic fibers found in conventional tampons can lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a potentially fatal illness.

Sodium Polyacrylate, an extremely absorbent polymer that becomes a gel when wet, is found in pads 5. This gel can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions that include fever, vomiting, and in some cases, staph infections 5.

Did you know?

Regardless of whether you use pads or tampons, chemicals found in conventional pads and tampons can be absorbed into the blood stream.

Unfortunately, this issue lacks the attention and research that it needs. We should know exactly what we are putting in or on our bodies and what risks are associated with the use of these products. And, potentially harmful chemical-filled menstrual products should be removed from the market.

Are you concerned about the chemicals in conventional menstrual products?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)