Well yes and no. In short, the FDA say you can’t market them. However, if you are caught in posession of a menstrual sponge you won’t get sent to Guantanamo Bay.
The FDA And Menstrual Products
Our European readers may be surprised to hear that in the USA you need FDA approval to put menstrual cups and menstrual pads on the market. Yes, even Salva Slips are FDA controlled.
Given this very strong oversight it’s logical that the FDA monitor other products which might fall into their jurisdiction as medical devices or menstrual products, so yes, they keep a keen eye on menstrual sponges.
In the US menstrual sponges would need FDA clearance. To be honest, given that every single sponge is unique and harvested by hand which implies a constantly varying quality, it’s hard to imagine how such a product would ever get constant on-going approval with every single batch having it’s own variations, although a process does exist.
So no natural sea sponges are FDA approved for menstrual use meaning that they can’t be sold as such. But sponges are just sponges, right? Our understanding is that no laws or regulations are being broken by using a sea sponge for menstruation but they can’t be marketed that way.
Why Is The FDA So Against Sea Sponge Tampons?
The FDA is not over reaching in their powers, neither are they being unreasonable. From a medical stand point a nice fluffy tampon is easier control than natural sponges and they do quote many reports on the risks of using sea sponges.
The reports quoted by the FDA sound scary but they do need balancing. Reference is made to sponges containing dirt, dust, sand, bacteria and even yeast. We would say that’s true of dirty sponges, maybe even new sponges which have been recently purchased.
But if you took a menstrual cup you would probably find it too has bacteria on it at. any given time.
And if you looked at what was in the soil which covers a recently dug potato it would be scary and certainly not edible, but we don’t eat potatoes in such a way. We take them home and scrub them, rinse them and probably peel them before we boil them which would further sterilze them. In a similar way new sponges are checked for debris which is removed, cleaned and maybe even sterilized too. Remember too that almost nothing which is inserted vaginally is ever sterile, not even tampons.
The FDA’s case against using sea sponges makes sense when you remember that they have a medical orientation and are looking at a natural product which is hard to control. They wish to put controls to protect people in general and it’s hard to factor in smart people who might be able to take control of the situation and use the sponges safely.
So menstrual sponges aren’t available in the US but sea sponges are.
Due to geography there are more Caribbean sponges on offer in the US but we recommend the greater absorbancy of Mediterranean sponges. Natural Intimacy IntimateCare sponges can be purchased from Amazon in USA.