As most women know (and likely a good number of men as well), feminine hygiene products are made of mostly organic ingredients found in nature—cotton being the most prevalent. News headlines this week included a very real side effect of using said ingredients—mold. Yes, you read that correctly: mold.
Texas resident Danielle Parr found unusual black spots growing on an unused tampon. According to her own blog, she indicated that she noticed them upon accidentally popping the Kotex tampon out of its applicator. YUK! Upon seeing the unusual decoration on something supposedly relatively sterile, she contacted Kotex tampon maker, Kimberly-Clark Corporation to report the issue, and was told by a company spokesperson that it was a substance she shouldn’t be too concerned about. Hmmm….really?
Her blog reads the response from Kimberly-Clarke, “In instances where it has been found, we conducted tests on the product involved and have found the mold to be a common environmental species that carries no health risk. The vegetative mold is similar in nature to mold on vegetables or in baked goods.” In addition, they wrote, “Nothing is more important to us than consumer safety. Any discoloration or abnormality with our tampons is extremely rare, and we want to do a full investigation to determine the source and follow-up with our manufacturing facility.”
This incident seemed the perfect catalyst for us to again highlight alternative feminine hygiene products—such as the menstrual cup. This palm-sized medical-grade silicone product is used more broadly in Europe than the United States and currently, manufacturers are all headquartered outside of the United States. DivaCup in Canada and Lunette in Finland, are two of the most popular. Or, consider all-organic feminine hygiene products from such companies as Seventh Generation (which Period Packs currently carry) or Natracare —another solid option. Organic products not only use 100% pure cotton, but unbleached cotton (i.e. no chemicals).
Now, I’ve never personally found any mold on my tampons, and I switch from pads and tampons to menstrual cups depending on flow and range of activities when my period arrives. My personal feeling is that there are definitely appropriate times to use all available products—but it is important for each woman to find the right products for her body and lifestyle needs. Just be sure that the products you do use in/around your lady parts aren’t a gross-looking black, green, brown or yellow.
Danielle’s Blog: http://www.parrforthecourse.com/2012/03/tale-of-moldy-tampon.html