So, apparently, there is very little data available on the overall safety of Tampons . Insane when you consider the sheer number of people in the global population who use tampons.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) recently reintroduced the Robin Danielson Act
, a bill named for a woman who died of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) in 1998, because she feels there is not enough research about potential health risks of feminine hygiene products.
Maloney told RH Reality Check, "
American women spend well over $2 billion per year on feminine hygiene products, and the average woman will use over 16,800 tampons and pads over the course of her lifetime. Despite this large investment and high usage, there has been limited research on the potential health risks these products may pose to women."
This proposed bill would require the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to do the much-needed research on the possible hazards in things like synthetic fibers and chemicals like dioxins which can be found in tampons or other feminine hygiene products, and then make those results available to the public. (By the way, the Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have deemed dioxins likely to be cancer causing).
You may be wondering about those TSS inserts in your tampon box. The research for those inserts was conducted by the very same people who are manufacturing your tampons. Can you say conflict? The FDA requires things like potential adverse tissue reaction, vaginal injury, vaginal infection, and TSS are included in the report while preclinical toxicology and microbiology are simply "recommended." And that testing is not made public so who the heck knows if anyone is even trying to protect you.
Chris Bobel, president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, says the FDA isn't required to release the results of their studies to consumers, which is common, but it also means that people are buying these products without being able to make a truly informed decision.
"The reality is menstrual health has been considered a taboo subject for far too long," Maloney said. "It's time that feminine hygiene products are researched so that we can ensure that complete and accurate information is being collected and made readily accessible. My legislation will give women the ability to make more informed decisions as they seek to lead healthy lives."
I sure hope this bill passes. You know all those 'if men had periods...' jokes? Well, if men had periods, I'm guessing we would have ample research on what is contained in a tampon (or other feminine hygiene product). It is beyond time that women's health gets the attention it needs. Wouldn't you say?