The Slightly Terrifying Truth About Tampons

Victoria Hoff

Free People

Periods are not pleasant—that's valid (and obvious). But are we really still evading the subject now, in 2016? Isn't it kind of sad that we've been conditioned this much to not talk about something that happens to half of the world's population on a monthly basis for a large chunk of our lifetimes? 

It's not about being open just for the sake of being open. Our health is at stake, and the proof is in this question: Do you even know what is in your tampons? Probably not, because the FDA does not require tampon companies to list ingredients on their boxes, meaning we've been putting god knows what inside of our bodies for years without a second thought. Even with the knowledge that tampons can cause death in rare cases (by way of toxic shock syndrome), we're expected to be okay with not knowing what chemicals are in a very invasive toiletry. How does this make sense?

"We give thought to what’s in our food and beauty products, so why not our tampons, which we use in one of the most absorbent parts of our bodies?" ask Jordana Kier and Alex Friedman, who founded LOLA, a 100% cotton tampon subscription service, after pondering this very question. "The big brands do the bare minimum and rarely disclose the ratio of ingredients in their tampons, which is typically a blend of the artificial fibers rayon and polyester, among others." "Others" is a fittingly vague term: When the pair was developing their product and sent a variety of brand-name tampons to a lab for testing, they still couldn't identify some of the chemicals and compounds they contained. Between artificial fragrances and synthetic absorbents, there's just a lot of "stuff" in there—and frankly, that's outrageous.

But since that monthly gift just loves to keep on giving whether you feel like boycotting tampons or not, alternatives are in order. And fortunately, there are a few:

Did you know tampons were so unregulated? Would you ever consider switching to one of these alternatives, or do you have any experience with any of them already? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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