Dioxins Study Guide

Microfoam on your flat white, fresh powder on the slopes, the "pure" color of tampons & pads… one of these snow whites is not natural.

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Conventional feminine product manufacturers rely heavily on bleach to achieve the hue. And in the case of tampons & pads, the bleaching process leaves some scary stuff in our bodies. One such byproduct: DIOXINS.

Chlorine-compounds called dioxins* are produced when tampons & pads are bleached using chlorine dioxide. Dioxins also forms when wood pulp is converted to rayon, another common ingredient in feminine hygiene products. 

the main issue with dioxins is our exposure to them over time.

Their effect is cumulative. Let's just say that if dioxins are invited to the party, they're those super annoying guests who never leave. They'll probably also trash your place, but we'll get to that later.

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Once dioxins enter the body, they're absorbed by fat tissue & stored, with an estimated half-life from 7 to 11 years. Recall from middle school science, that's the time it takes a chemical to reduce by half. And these guys are ubiquitous. A 2005 FDA study found detectable levels of dioxins in 7 brands of tampons.

While dioxins are found only in trace amounts in a single tampon or pad, what happens when a woman uses multiple tampons during a period & has over 400 periods during her lifetime? We're talking potentially 12,000 exposures to "trace" amounts of dioxin, in one of the most permeable places in her body. The vaginal wall can absorb tampon chemicals, from where they could pass into her bloodstream. Taking into account the low levels of dioxins already present in food, water & air, repeated & localized exposure is cause for concern.

Very few scientific studies exist on the effects of dioxin exposure from tampons & pads. We do know that dioxin exposure has been linked to impairment of the immune system, reproductive functions, hormonal & endocrine systems & increased cancer risk. 

Potentially pretty nasty stuff... Non-toxic tampons & pads FTW.

So there's our class notes on dioxins & here's a quick summary. 

DIOXINS:

  • are caused by bleaching tampons & pads

  • accumulate in your body

  • are exposed to an extremely permeable place, repeatedly

  • have unknown (but shall we say, unwelcome) effects
     

next up, gmos & glyphosates. not your homie g's...

 

"Dioxins" also refers to around 419 structurally & chemically related polychlorinated dibenzo para dioxins (PCDDs) & polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) & certain dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Thirty of these "dioxins" are considered to have significant toxicity, with 2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzo para dioxin (TCDD) being the most toxic. World Health Organization: Dioxins & their Effect on Human Health