Try this test at home with most brands of tampons and you might notice the fibres coming off from the tampon after just a few minutes. This is because normally tampons are made with a mix of rayon and pesticide-sprayed cotton. Rayon fibres are short and straight and can easily slide apart from each other, shedding into the vagina during use.
Apart from the hygiene issues of fibres remaining in the vagina, there are also implications for bacterial colonisation which can contribute to vaginal infections. Rayon in tampons has also been linked with Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Natracare does not have an issue with fibre loss as our tampons, including the string, are made from only 100% organic cotton, a wavy-construction fibre that easily interlocks.
Natracare championed the issue of fibre loss back in the 1990’s as a result of concerns raised both by users of tampons and nurses. Nurses conducting smear tests reported having to remove shed tampon fibres from around the cervix before being able to obtain a clear smear sample.
Manufacturers, who at first denied the fibre loss issue, quickly placed a synthetic overwrap material around their tampons to prevent the inner absorbent core of fibres falling away. The choice of material, a plastic called polypropylene, is heated to melt the overwrap and form a seal over the tampon core. This reduced some of the fibre loss, but did not eradicate it. On top of this, polypropylene is made from crude oil and does not biodegrade, ultimately damaging the environment.
Want to take action against unwanted materials in our feminine hygiene products? Sign this petition by Women’s Voice for the Earth.