Are tampons harmful? Study finds lead, arsenic and other toxic metals in menstrual product - Hindustan Times
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Are tampons harmful? Study finds lead, arsenic and other toxic metals in menstrual product

ByArya Vaishnavi
Jul 10, 2024 02:55 PM IST

The study notes that these metals “could be absorbed by the vagina’s highly absorptive tissue, resulting in systemic exposure.”

A new study has revealed that tampons contain metals that pose the risk of adverse health effects among users. As part of the study published by the University of California, Berkeley, researchers tested 30 tampons from 14 brands and 18 product lines and found “measurable concentrations of all 16 metals assessed.” Since about 52 to 86% of people who menstruate in the United States use tampons, the study raises concerns about women's health.

A new study has found metals like lead and arsenic in tampons(Representational Image)
A new study has found metals like lead and arsenic in tampons(Representational Image)

Researchers detect toxic metals in tampons

“Although toxic metals are ubiquitous and we are exposed to low levels at any given time, our study clearly shows that metals are also present in menstrual products and that women might be at higher risk for exposure using these products,” said study co-author Kathrin Schilling.

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The metals found in the tampons were Arsenic, Barium, Calcium, Cadmium, Cobalt, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Mercury, Nickel, Lead, Selenium, Strontium, Vanadium, and Zinc. The study notes that these metals “could be absorbed by the vagina’s highly absorptive tissue, resulting in systemic exposure.”

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Jenni A. Shearston, the study's lead author, said, “Despite this large potential for public health concern, very little research has been done to measure chemicals in tampons,” adding, “To our knowledge, this is the first paper to measure metals in tampons. Concerningly, we found concentrations of all metals we tested for, including toxic metals like arsenic and lead.”

“I really hope that manufacturers are required to test their products for metals, especially for toxic metals,” Shearston continued, adding, “It would be exciting to see the public call for this, or to ask for better labeling on tampons and other menstrual products.”

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