Arsenic, lead, other toxic metals ‘common’ in tampons, poses health risks

    After examining 30 tampons from 14 brands, researchers at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health have detected toxic materials like lead, arsenic, and cadmium in both organic and nonorganic tampons.

    The researchers said that they have found 16 metals in tampons that could put women at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, infertility, and even dementia.

    Though the co- author Kathrin Schilling states that toxic metals are ‘ubiquitous’ and one might be exposed to low levels of such materials at any point of time. The lead author—Jenni A Shearston—states that due to the sensitivity of the vagina, the widespread use of tampons does have the potential to cause a health concern.

    In 14 tampons across 18 product lines, the study outlined, they measured the amount of 16 metal (loids) in 30 tampons in total, Interesting Engineer reported.

    The researchers said that they detected all 16 metals in one sampled tampon, including some toxic metals like lead that does not have a ‘safe’ exposure level.”

    Though, the researchers only studied tampons from US and UK, they said that the concentration of toxic metals depended on the country.

    They even studied tampons from store and name brand as well as organic and non-organic ones. The discovered Lead in non-organic tampons while organic tampons came with Arsenic.

    These metals have been shown to potentially damage internal organs, and even the brain as well as the nervous and endocrine systems. They can impact maternal health and fetal development, also, Berkeley reports.

    At the moment researchers aren’t aware what type of adverse effects can occur from such metals. Further studies need to be conducted in order to evaluate how much the vagina absorbs and if the body also intakes other chemicals.

    During the manufacturing of the tampon, it is prone to absorbing harmful metals or, they might be present due to additives such as whiteners and antibacterial agents.

    Around 52-86 per cent of women use tampons, monthly for many years. Thus, another risk that crops up besides health is infertility.

    One might not fully understand the impact tampons have on a women’s body since they were invented only in 1931. However, metals like Lead and arsenic are toxic and are coming in direct contact with vagina.

    Published 05 July 2024, 13:53 IST

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