‘I personally just give up’: The revelation that some tampons contain concerning levels of toxic metals leads to a surge in demands for period PTO

‘I personally just give up’: The revelation that some tampons contain concerning levels of toxic metals leads to a surge in demands for period PTO

The issue of menstruation has largely been ignored across the history of the human race — that’s a woman’s issue and should be kept in the dark, don’t you know?

Unfortunately for those of us with ovaries, it’s not an easy issue to ignore, and TikTok has helped bring the conversation to the forefront. Even as researchers, policymakers, and employers brush it aside as a minor annoyance, many people with periods are left utterly debilitated on a monthly basis, and it’s time we stopped ignoring it. Crippling cramps, heavy bleeding, and body-wide discomfort are a plague on nearly everyone who suffers the monthly occurrence, and now even the products we use are hurting us.

The menstrual market — the range of retailers that supply the globe with tampons, pads, and menstrual cups — is massive, given that half of the human population relies on its products every month. The tampon industry may be headed toward a major decline, however, following troubling research into the toxic metals contained in almost every tampon on the market.

This was all highlighted in a recent video from TikToker @vianht05, who recently turned to the app to share the revelation with a wider audience. Informing people that many of us have been “inadvertently poison(ing)” ourselves for years, she put emphasis on the presence of several dangerous metals — most notably lead and arsenic — in several high-profile brands.

The TikToker puts particular emphasis on Tampax products, but there’s yet to be confirmation that the brand was among the 14 included in the study. If it was — and it’s easy to see why the suspicion is there given the company’s prevalence across the globe — it was certainly found to contain some metals, since all 14 brands tested came back with positive results for at least one or two metals, and one product in particular contained traces of all 16 metals included in the study.

That’s terrifying. Particularly when you consider the still-untested nature of the situation, leaving those of us with decades of tampon use in our history to wonder about the implications. If the metals are able to seep out of the tampons and into our bodies — something we’re awaiting further research on — those toxins aren’t able to be filtered through the liver since they’re entering through the vagina, and additionally, they’re coming into contact with one of the most vulnerable parts of the body.

The news sparked a panic among tampon users, many of whom are ready to swear off the products for good, regardless of what additional research concludes. Commenters shared their distress, and overall exhaustion, over the matter in response to @vianht05’s video, and some were even kind enough to share alternatives.

Menstrual cups were a frequent suggestion, since they’re — thus far — considered a safe, environmentally friendly, and less-expensive option for those who prefer to avoid pads. Several organic brands of tampons were also listed by environmentally-conscious TikTokers, as was the implementation of period PTO.

Several people with periods showed up to champion the idea of time off for menstruation, something that’s broadly been ignored by employers, but is genuinely necessary to at least a portion of people with ovaries. Periods are a natural part of a woman’s life, but that doesn’t eliminate all the bad parts. We’re typically iron deficient when on our periods, leading to fatigue, full-body pain, and fainting fits in bad cases, and that’s not to mention any of the other symptoms.

Symptoms associated with menstruation include sometimes severe and debilitating cramps, nausea, loose stool, tender breasts, muscle aches, fatigue, joint pain, insomnia, body aches, headaches, mood swings, and dizziness, and that’s just for the typical cases. Among women who suffer from more severe period symptoms, those can escalate to rapid changes in mood, depression, withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and debilitating pain. For some, these symptoms — paired with all of the above — can last weeks.

And now we also have to worry about potentially poisoning ourselves with the very products created to help lessen the burden of this crummy shared experience. Women are on the verge of a riot over the fresh information, and considering what we put up with on a monthly basis, can you really blame us?

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