The white, sterile looking classic tampon is made to give the impression that it is the safest period solution out there. That’s what you would assume if you were judging by the cover.
But as you probably know by now, big corporations are experts at marketing, and often their profits first at the expense of both your health and the environment. Because tampons are officially categorized as “medical devices”, manufacturers are under no obligation to list the ingredients of their product. And while they do undergo regulations, many of the results of their tests are not made known to the public. So we can only guess what we are putting in our bodies!
Without that knowledge, we have very little control and very little choice! What we do know is that tampons are mostly made of cotton and rayon. Stuffing a synthetic fabric inside your vaginal canal should set off your internal alarm bells. Even cotton, which is often innocently marketed with a fluffy flower symbol, is risky.
Cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of pesticides. Those pesticides remain on the cotton used in tampon manufacturing, and recent studies show tampons have a high level of pesticide residue. And we have not even mentioned the fragrances, bleaches, and other unknown chemicals that all collide to create a dangerous chemical cocktail lurking in that little white tampon. So are tampons the safest period protection? Two things are clear: tampons contain all kinds of potentially harmful chemicals, and using them irresponsibly can lead to TSS.
So are natural sea sponges any safer?
Well first off, nothing that you insert into your vagina for a prolonged period of time can ever be 100% safe. It’s just not natural and it’s never going to be a sterile affair either. Even if you sterilise a sponge, the moment that you leave it to air dry or even the moment you touch it to insert it, it’s no longer sterile. Almost nothing in life is actually ever sterile. So airborne bacteria that surround us every minute of the day will indeed be on the sponge and will indeed be inserted. Just like when you use a tampon or a menstrual cup.
The sponges begin their lives, literally, in the sea. Alongside lots of sand, grit, stones and creepy crawly fishy things. But the sponges are cleaned and inspected before being sold and logically you would clean and inspect them yourself for any little bits that might still be present. Just the same as how you would still clean and cook your vegetables even if they were pre washed and sold in a shrink wrapped tray.
So you would clean your hands, clean your sponge, twist and insert it, later removing it with clean hands. The process seems just no more safe or unsafe than using a regular tampon, except for the fact that all of the yucky chemicals in the tampon are not present.
What do you think?