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Asbestos and Tampons - copy of Email Hoax

We recieved this email the other day concerning asbestos and tampons.

"Hello everyone, My name is Melissa and I am emailing you from Hobart with just one important question.

On my email today I received, from a good friend of mine, a letter relating to the use of tampons and pads. This email was very disturbing to me and I was wondering if you could shed any light on the subject.

It all seems really scarey, but then again it all seems untrue. I am in limbo. I have attached this email below and hopefully it is readable. If you could please read it and send me an email to know that you have seen it, and what you think it would be greatly appreciated. You can email me on this address. Thanks so very much for taking the time in reading this. Best regards Mel :-)"

So what does this all mean? Is it true?

This mish-mash of claims began circulating on the Internet in the summer of 1998. It is usually attributed to "Donna C. Boisseau", who may or may not be a real person but who this missive makes out to be the "woman getting her Ph.D. at University of Colorado @ Boulder" who supposedly researched the information and is now sounding the alarm over her findings.

For the real truth behind this false scare go to

Asbestos in Tampons - Fact or Fiction

And remember there are real usable alternatives to disposable tampons and pads.

This is a copy of the email about asbestos and tampons doing the rounds.

"Check the labels of the sanitary pads or tampons that you are going to buy the next time, and see whether you spot any of the familiar signs stated in this email. No wonder so many women in the world suffer from cervical cancer and womb tumours.

Have you heard that tampon makers include asbestos in tampons? Why would they do this? Because asbestos makes you bleed more, if you bleed more, you're going to need to use more. Why isn't this against the law since asbestos is so dangerous? Because the powers that be, in all their wisdom (not), did not consider tampons as being ingested, and, therefore, didn't consider them illegal or dangerous.

This month's Essence magazine has small article about this and they mention two manufacturers of a cotton tampon alternative. The companies are Organic Essentials @1-800) 765-6491 and Terra Femme @ (800)755-0212. A woman getting her Ph.D. at University of Colorado at Boulder sent the following: "I am writing this because women are not being informed about the dangers of something most of us use tampons. I am taking a class this month and I have been learning a lot about biology and woman, including much about feminine hygiene. Recently we have learned that tampons are actually dangerous (for other reasons than TSS). I'll tell you this - after learning about this in our class, most of the females wound up feeling angry and upset with the tampon industry, and I for one, am going to do something about it.

To start, I want to inform everyone I can, and email is the fastest way that I know how. HERE IS THE SCOOP: Tampons contain two things that are potentially harmful: Rayon (for absorbency),and dioxin (a chemical used in bleaching the products). The tampon industry is convinced that we, as women, need bleached white products in order to view the product as pure and clean.

The problem here is that the dioxin produced in this bleaching process can lead to very harmful problems for a woman. Dioxin is potentially carcinogenic (cancer-associated) and is toxic to the immune and reproductive systems. It has also been linked to endometriosis and lower sperm counts for men. For both sexes, it breaks down the immune system. Last September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that there really is no set "acceptable" level of exposure to dioxin given that it is cumulative and slow to disintegrate. The real danger comes from repeated contact (Karen Couppert "Pulling the Plug on the Tampon Industry"). I'd say using about 4-5 tampons a day, five days a month, for 38 menstruating years is "repeated contact", wouldn't you?

Rayon contributes to the danger of tampons and dioxin because it is a highly absorbent substance. Therefore, when fibres from the tampons are left behind in the vagina (as usually occurs), it creates a breeding ground for the dioxin. It also stays in a lot longer than it would with just cotton tampons. This is also the reason why TSS (toxic shock syndrome) occurs.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES? Using feminine hygiene products that aren't bleached and that are all cotton. Other feminine hygiene products (pads/napkins) contain dioxin as well, but they are not nearly as dangerous since they are not in direct contact with the vagina. The pads/napkins need to stop being bleached, but, obviously, tampons are the most dangerous.

So, what can you do if you can't give up using tampons? Use tampons that are made from 100% cotton, and that are UNBLEACHED. Unfortunately, there are very few companies that make these safe tampons. They are usually only found in health food stores. Countries all over the world (Sweden, Germany, British Columbia, etc.) have demanded a switch to this safer tampon, while the U.S. has decided to keep us in the dark about it.

In 1989, activists in England mounted a campaign against chlorine bleaching. Six weeks and 50,000 letters later, the makers of sanitary products switched to oxygen bleaching (one of the green methods available) (MS magazine, May/June 1995). WHAT TO DO NOW: Tell people. Everyone. Inform them. We are being manipulated by this industry and the government, let's do something about it! Please write to the companies: Tampax (Tambrands), Playtex, O.B.,Kotex. Call the 800 numbers listed on the boxes. Let them know that we demand a safe product - ALL COTTON UNBLEACHED TAMPONS. REMINDER: In order not to lose the impact of this email, I suggest that anyone who wants to forward it to your friends, PLEASE copy this mail and paste it to a NEW message. That way it will not distort the whole message with all the forward arrows. Please do this with consideration and seriousness. Thanks!"

By Nadia MacLeod