My shampoo article written this morning got me thinking about how things are made, and how we use them. Chemicals can be absorbed through the skin. It is amazing how many items we put on our skin, and how little we think of what we are absorbing. Tampons are one of those things I thought about, and the sensitive spot we use them in.

Tampons are considered a medical device by the government. Some have an applicator, made either of cardboard or plastic. Tampax Company states they use plastics without Bisphenol A (BPA).  Bisphenol A is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Most Manufacturers will tell you they are not required to disclose the ingredients, because of being a medical device. Some of the ingredients still remain a mystery. What I have found is they may contain, Cotton, Rayon, or Polyester. They could also be made of polypropylene and or polyethylene.  They also may contain “fragrances ingredients found in other women’s products.” That statement is from the Tampax website.

Looking at the ingredients Rayon is a textile fiber or fabric made from regenerated cellulose (viscose). Regenerated Cellulose is a manufactured fiber and not natural fibers. The widest known process for making Rayon is called the viscose process. Cellulose,  treated with caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and carbon disulfide thus, converting it into a gold, highly viscous liquid about the color and consistency of honey. Cotton can also be made by natural techniques or man-made processes.

Polyethylene and polypropylene are chemicals. Polypropylene is used notably in the auto industry as well as the packaging industry.  Polyethylene is a thermal plastic polymer, it is one of the most widely used plastics in the world. Neither of these sounds like I would want to use them as a tampon or applicator.

Lastly, we have that dreaded fragrance word again. Per the FDA, if a product is intended to be applied to a person’s body to make the person more attractive, it’s a cosmetic under the law. For example:

  • Perfume
  • Cologne
  • Aftershave

If a product is intended for a therapeutic use it is considered a drug. Although, some products are covered under both laws. Examples of those covered under the FDA drug law are:

  • Easing muscle aches
  • Soothing headaches
  • Helping people sleep
  • Treating Colic

I will be adding this site in the reference section, it is an interesting read if you get a chance. Other products that are not applied to the skin may also contain fragrances. Examples of these are:

  • Laundry detergents
  • Fabric softeners
  • Dryer sheets
  • Room fresheners
  • Carpet Fresheners

Now here is where everything else is covered that they may not have to list. Quoting straight from their website. “Fragrance ingredients are also commonly used in other products, such as shampoos, shower gels, shaving creams, and body lotions. Even some products labeled “unscented” may contain fragrance ingredients. This is because the manufacturer may add just enough fragrance to mask the unpleasant smell of other ingredients, without giving the product a noticeable scent.” As we know these other products may contain parabens, sulfates,  and other chemicals not meant for our consumption. You can find natural tampons if you are willing to research the subject.

References:

https://www.globalplasticsheeting.com/our-blog-resource-library/bid/92169/polypropylene-is-it-different-from-polyethylene

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/22/feminine-hygiene-products.aspx

https://tampax.com/en-us/tips-and-advice/period-health/whats-in-a-tampax-tampon

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/index.cfm

https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/tag/regenerated-cellulose/

https://www.creativemechanisms.com/blog/polyethylene-pe-for-prototypes-3d-printing-and-cnc

https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/ingredients/ucm388821.htm

https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/ingredients/ucm388821.htm#labeling