Camp Gyno

2 08 2013

I don’t have a TV, I don’t even watch TV shows in my computer, so I am quite out of the commercial loop, but this ad came to my attention linked by a friend. It is the Camp Gyno commercial, it basically sells tampons to pre teen girls. Everybody loves it, I watched it and made my skin crawl.

Now, please, don’t get me wrong. The commercial itself is awesome (albeit too long at almost two minutes!), the creative team did a great job, the actress is darling, and they portray periods as something positive and normal (about time!), I love how she calls her period “the red badge of courage” and how they use anatomically correct terms with no shame or challenge. So, what is the problem, you might ask. I have an aversion to anything unhealthy being put in direct contact with a mucous membrane (repeatedly day after day for years), especially at a young age, when the reproductive system is going through its development.

Prolonged retention of menstrual blood in tampons has been linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Think about it, blood is full of iron, and bacteria thrive on iron! Not to mention that tampons are made with fibers that, if they are non organic, have absorbed tonnes of chemicals as insecticides, have been bleached with chlorine. Traces of dioxin have been found in tampons, according to the FDA these levels are of no concern, but according to EPA there are no levels of dioxin that are safe. Furthermore, dioxins have been found to be associated to endometriosis, a problem that is also linked to infertility, in studies performed in monkeys. Endometriosis in on the raise too. Given that I have not studied the topic, I would not blame it on tampons, but it might be one more factor that is contributing to this problem.

And have you heard of the moldy tampons? Apparently it is not so out of the ordinary to have mold growing in them, and think about this, you are about to pop that thing in a dark, moist environment, the paradise of fungi. Sure, this time it was “just” bread mold, but are other fungi growing and thriving in tampons? It horrifies me!

Of course, I maybe am too hippie for tampons, but if I had daughters I would suggest them not to use them, after all there are better alternatives out there. Menstrual pads might be a less invasive option, you can see if they are moldy right away (never found a moldy one!), they are not inserted into you and they are not related to TSS. Menstrual cups and cloth pads are also available, and more and more women are using them unapologetically, even though some people might think them weird or gross. I just know I would not want to expose my daughters’ young developing systems to harmful chemicals and potential TSS.
Do you use an alternative to tampons? If so, which one and how do you like it?

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