There’s Chlorine in Tampons?

October 19, 2010

Since I’ve been on this journey to live more consciously, I have changed some of my shopping habits. I used to just run to the market down the street, for everything I needed. Now granted, my local market isn’t your typical grocery store. It is more of a gourmet market. It’s actually like if Whole Foods and a regular super market had a love child. Well a friend told me about the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, because she thought I might like it. And she was right.

The Co-op is more like a Whole Foods – you won’t find anything that contains high fructose corn syrup or other additives – only it’s more inexpensive, and WAY smaller. On one of my trips to the co-op, I happened to walk down their feminine hygiene aisle. (I know men, not anything you want to hear about. Although, based on the title of this post, I’m surprised you’re here anyway! ;)) I noticed that they only carry two brands of products – Seventh Generation (which you already know I’m a fan of), and Natracare. Huh. Where are all the other brands? Why aren’t they here too? Well I picked up a few of the packages, and noticed one of their selling points is they do not contain chlorine. Uh… exsqueeze me? Chlorine? So… I assume, conventional brands DO contain chlorine? (Yes.) What the heck?! I had no clue.

I came home and researched it a bit, and yes – conventional brands of feminine hygiene products, contain chlorine, and other chemicals – not things I want in my lady place! So this is one more area of my life that I have over-hauled. I don’t know why I’m surprised, because at this point, I don’t use any of the body products I used to use. But even when I was doing all my initial research, and swapping all my products out for healthier, more natural versions, it still never crossed my mind to research feminine products. Since I made this discovery, I have tried both brands they carry, and want to briefly review them.

Here’s what I’ve used by Seventh Generation:

  • Organic Cotton No-Applicator Tampons – These tampons are made from certified organic cotton. They are whitened without chemicals containing chlorine, and do not contain added fragrance and dyes. The box is made from 100% recycled paper. I like these tampons, because before these I used o.b., so was happy to find a natural version just like them.
  • Organic Cotton Applicator Tampons – These tampons are also made from certified organic cotton, whitened without chemicals containing chlorine, and free of fragrance and dyes. The applicator is made of cardboard, instead of plastic, and is biodegradable. The box is made from 100% recycled paper.
  • Chlorine Free Ultra-Thin Pads With Wings – I almost don’t want to tell you what these pads are made of, because it’s going to make them sound cra-zy. But trust me, they look exactly like any other pad you’ve ever used! Okay here goes, the absorbent materials consist of a combination of chlorine-free wood pulp, a natural polymer derived from wheat, and absorbent gel. They are whitened without chemicals containing chlorine, and are free of fragrance & dyes. *The removable peel strip is whitened with a substance containing chlorine, but they are working to eliminate this, so the entire product will be processed chlorine-free. The pads are individually wrapped. These pads are great for light-flow nights.
  • Chlorine Free Overnight Maxi Pads With Wings – These pads are the same as the others, only bigger. Good for heavier-flow nights.

Seventh Generation also includes interesting factoids on their packaging:

  • Chlorine-free tampons reduce the amount of dioxin pollution in the environment, and the amount of chlorine residue in your body.
  • If every woman replaced 1 box of regular-size conventional rayon/cotton blend tampons with their organic cotton tampons, it would prevent 20,000 lbs of pesticides from entering the environment & polluting rivers, lakes & streams.

Here’s what I’ve used by Natracare:

  • Organic Cotton Tampons Without Applicator – These tampons are made from certified organic cotton. They are chlorine & perfume free. They are biodegradable. I also like these tampons, because they are just like the o.b. I used to use. But just like Seventh Generation, if you prefer an applicator, they make that style as well. Their applicators are also made of biodegradable cardboard.
  • Natural Panty Liners Curved – These liners are made with certified organic cotton, plant cellulose, and corn starch. They are chlorine, plastic, and perfume-free. They are over 90% biodegradable, and compostable under the correct conditions. They are not individually wrapped, which is fine with me, because I have never carried a pantyliner in my pocket. An o.b.-style tampon? Yes. Pantyliner? No. And they are curved for better fit in your chonies.
  • Natural Panty Liners Tanga – These are just like the other pantyliners, only they are shaped to fit perfectly inside thong underwear.

Here are some interesting snippets from Natracare’s website:

  • Natracare tampons were developed as a direct response to health and environmental concerns about dioxin pollution caused by chlorine bleaching, the extensive use of pesticide spraying on conventionally grown cotton, and the use of rayon and other synthetics in tampons.
  • Many women are unaware that rayon & rayon-cotton blends are widely used in the manufacture of tampons. Rayon is commonly chlorine-bleached, and is a highly absorbent fiber which rapidly absorbs menstrual blood, but at the same time can also dry out the natural protective mucous lining of the vagina.
  • Dioxin, a toxic carcinogen, is a by-product of all chlorine bleaching methods. Dioxin has been found to collect in the fatty tissues, and should, therefore, be a real concern for women. Published scientific reports have shown that evidence is growing that even low levels of dioxins may be linked to cancer, endometriosis, and immune system suppression. Considering a woman may use as many as 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, she may be subjecting herself to additional dioxin exposure.

For more information on Seventh Generation and Natracare, and to view all their products, visit their respective websites. ( (


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