There is a common misconception in the UK concerning bleaching and dioxins
in relation to tampons. This is purely a myth; tampons are neither bleached,
nor are dioxins made in tampon manufacturing processes.
Tampons are not bleached during their manufacture, however in the very early
stages of the production of viscose or cotton fibres for use in tampons,
there is a purification process (which removes the lignin in wood pulp and
the natural oily substances in cotton fibres) to help create a more
effective and absorbent fibre. This process is commonly referred to as
“bleaching” – hence the myth. Rest assured it’s nothing like the bleach you
use to clean your toilet!
Dioxins are not added to tampons and current methods for processing and
cleansing tampon fibres, including viscose and cotton, are not a source of
dioxins. This concern around dioxins is often raised because before the
1990’s elemental chlorine gas was used by some manufacturers of the
absorbent materials and in the process small quantities of dioxins were
produced.! Nowadays this process is carried out using safe and
environmentally friendly methods such as oxygen, peroxide (totally chlorine
free) and chlorine dioxide bleaching (elemental chlorine free).
Tiny trace amounts of dioxins are everywhere in the environment, in rain
water, and in food and because of this they have sometimes been detected in
both cotton and viscose tampons, as well as many other feminine hygiene
products. The exposure though is many tens or hundreds of thousands of times
lower than from food. The important thing to remember is that at these tiny
trace levels dioxins are not a concern to health.
We have recently updated our packs to include the claim “100% fragrance
free and no chlorine bleach” to help to educate consumers about this