A woman recently went to use a Kotex brand tampon and fortunately was a little clumsy getting it out of the packaging and discovered patches of mold growing all over the product that was seconds away from being inserted inside her. She wrote to the manufacturer and was horrified to discover that this is fairly common and received nothing more than a cookie cutter apology and some coupons to buy more of their products.
I urge anyone who uses this brand or other brands of tampons to pay closer attention when using or to perhaps consider switching to a different type of reusable product such as a Diva Cup or washable cloth liners. This is absolutely repulsive and although I no longer have periods, I felt I should inform my followers about this for their own health and safety.
thank god i hate tampons anyways.
I AM SO DISTURBED AND SO FULL OF RAGE RIGHT NOW
NOTE: LOTS OF INFORMATION AND LINKS HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THIS REBLOG.
"She wrote to the manufacturer and was horrified to discover that this is fairly common"
"was horrified to discover that this is fairly common"
"this is fairly common"
So wait. Modern tampon manufacturers have been ‘improving’ their products for over seventy-five years, constantly redesigning their packaging (and occasionally even its contents) to convince consumers their product is better than the competition’s, using enticing words like Pearl and U to communicate how high-end and high-tech their cotton-wads-on-strings are…
…but not only have none of the standard supermarket brands ever stopped bleaching the cotton used in their products — despite mounds of evidence that chlorine residue is harmful to vaginal mucosa…
…they KNOW that there’s LIKELY to be FUNGUS on and in the tampon HIDDEN UNDER THE APPLICATOR, but they haven’t even TRIED to prevent the mold growth OR warn women that it’s a possible hazard of using their products?!
Possibly Kotex is hoping to avoid another costly recall like the one that happened only FOUR MONTHS AGO, in that case due to bacterial contamination rather than fungal. Hopefully the just-discovered fungal contamination isn’t a side-effect of their using stronger anti-bacterial processes in order to prevent a recurrence of the bacteria issue?
Just an FYI: O.B. (bleached supermarket brand), Natracare (unbleached organic cotton, usually only available at ‘health-food’ specialty shops), and every other no-applicator tampon brand I’ve come across, package their tampons inside clear shrink-wrap, making it virtually impossible for a woman to overlook it if her tampon has been moldering inside its box.
If you go visit the U by Kotex website, there’s an add-your-own-comment feature right on the page. They do seem to have someone monitoring the comments section and deleting any critical comments fairly regularly, though. (And then at least sometimes putting them back? Screenshot.) However, by going to the site, you might also be selected to participate in a market-research survey — which to be frank is long, tedious, and boring — but offers the opportunity to tell Kotex what you think of their behavior in a forum they’re less likely to brush off.
The full text of Kotex’s initial response to the woman who discovered the moldy tampon can be found at parrforthecourse.com, her personal blog. Choice quote:
"In instances where it has been found, we conducted tests on the product involved and have found the mold to be a common environmental species that carries no health risk. The vegetative mold is similar in nature to mold on vegetables or in baked goods.” [emphasis mine]
Let me just address for a moment the amazingly inaccurate excuse Kotex gave for not caring that their tampons may be filled and/or covered with FUNGUS:
- Penicillin is a bread mold, and millions of people are allergic to penicillins.
- Even people not allergic to penicillins specifically can experience allergic or otherwise adverse reactions to other types of fungus, with symptoms which often do not include anaphylaxis (swelling of the throat) and thus are frequently not recognized as an allergic reaction. For example, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which I have, causes flu-like symptoms whenever I’m exposed to most molds — unlikely to be life-threatening, but always serious enough that I had to miss a day or more of school / work.
- Fungal spores which might be safe in your environment or on your skin (or even in your digestive tract) are not necessarily safe to ingest, inhale, or allow to come into contact with any mucous membrane — eyes, sinuses, mouth, urethra, prepuce, vulva, vagina, rectum — or open wound, including cuts, scrapes and burns.
- In many cases it isn’t the fungus itself that causes adverse reactions, as opposed to compounds they produce called mycotoxins, which do not break down over time or when heated or even digested… meaning that, the longer the mold has had to grow, the more harmful it can be, even after the fungal colony is completely killed and/or sterilized.
- Fungus species and concentrations which may be safe for healthy individuals to come in contact with can be deadly to immunocompromised people, including not just HIV-positive people and those taking anti-rejection drugs after an organ transplant, but also people with many autoimmune diseases, including everything from asthma through celiac disease to lupus, rheumatism and vasculitis.
- Vaginas contain a delicate balance of microflora (both funguses and bacteria, mostly not harmful when kept in check by competing microorganisms); upsetting this balance is what leads to candida overgrowth aka yeast infections, and to bacterial vaginosis, which is frequently mistaken for a yeast infection, depending on which way the balance tips; obviously, introducing a foreign fungal population will upset that balance.
Horrified? Do please reblog, but also e-mail and/or telephone everyone you know who has female reproductive anatomy (even if they no longer or never did menstruate, because they’ll know other people who do) with this information. Fungus in tampons is seriously dangerous. Get the word out.