Out of sight, out of mind. Let’s be honest, that’s why we choose tampons. Little cotton plug goes up, monthly mess is avoided, and (teamed with super-strength painkillers to dull the nasty nudges in our womb), we can almost forget we’re on our period. Almost.
Now, tampon life isn’t without its worries. We’re warned of the dangers a little forgetfulness can cause, with stories of friends of friends having a three-deep-tampon-stack surgically removed, and the letters TSS constantly reminding us to slip out, switch and replace our flow-stopper every 6-8 hours. No exceptions. But is this vaginal vigilance enough to keep us safe?
“Many tampons are basically a chemical soup, with contaminants linked to hormonal disruption, cancer, birth defects, dryness and infertility”, Nikki Michelsen, co founder of organic tampon brand, OHNE, warns us.
Surely she’s not referring to our tampons. Anything bought from a supermarket must have passed the relevant health and safety checks, right? “Unfortunately, there are stricter regulations for the labelling of hamster food than there are for tampons in Europe”, Nikki tells us, with pesticides, chlorine and fragrance just a few of the potentially harmful ingredients finding their way into our cabinets and bloodstreams as a result.
Boasting absorbency power without the problems, organic tampon brands such as OHNE, Flo and TOTM use 100% organic cotton for their designs, and that’s it! On face value, the organic option mirrors your standard tampon. Various absorbencies accommodate a light, medium or heavy flow, compact designs keep things comfortable, and little strings offer assistance when your eight hours are up. However, we’re more excited about the differences…
“When I switched to organic tampons (which I did literally the second I found out what was in regular ones!), I noticed my cramps had significantly decreased,” Nikki from OHNE admits. “There’s very little research into periods, full stop, let alone period products and their effects, but you only have to look at the list of toxins and nasty chemicals clogging up mainstream tampons to know that it can’t be good news for you or your vagina.”
Kinder for our bodies, but also for the planet, 100% organic cotton tampons have the added benefit of being biodegradable. That’s major stuff when we consider that the average tampon will sit in a landfill for 500 years! As for applicators, it’s time to get on (card)board, or go without.
“Cardboard applicators are biodegradable too, so if they do end up in a landfill, they’ll break down naturally.” Alex Patience from TOTM reassures us. Yes, inserting may not be the smoothest ride after years of slippery plastic, but if you twist the cardboard applicator first to release the tampon, everything will slot right into place.
“Cardboard applicators are a positive step towards cutting out plastics” says Alex, “so your effort to adapt to using cardboard in place of plastic will help our planet in the long run.” Who can say no to that?
So if scrunchy sani pads and fiddly menstrual cups don’t get your vote, get ready to give cardboard-covered organic cotton ‘pons a go. The only way is up!