I was at Target earlier in the week, which is an hour away, so it was visual overload. I roamed each aisle looking at food I can't purchase in my town, mugs I would buy if it wasn't Frugal February and office supplies I was sure would make me naturally blond and organized.
Then, realizing Frugal February wasn't ending in the next hour or so, I hit the tampon aisle. Just as I went to reach for my usual suspects, I saw out of the corner of my eye a sleek, black box.
What is that?
I stepped to the right and looked closer.
Organic tampons? Wait....what? When did this happen?
Somewhere in the attic of my mind I recalled hearing about 'healthy' tampons online, probably on GOOP. But that seemed like something you ordered off a a website like...GOOP. I'd kind of dismissed it as so highfalutin as to not apply to me.
So, then, what were these high-level tampons doing in Target? When had this become mainstream? And did I need to get on board?
I began reading the backs of boxes. There were lists of important dos/don's and 'ingredients' included and not included.
Organic tampons, for example, are dye and pesticide-free. They are made of cotton and only cotton, as opposed to their non-organic counterparts, which include rayon or other synthetic material (which apparently help with absorption and, well, smell).
The Cora brand tampons are made without using child labor.
Interesting. I'd never considered whether or not children were laboring to make tampons. I mean that; I'm not being tongue-in-cheek. I'm not totally opposed to child labor, which is a complicated development issue, but I see the point in steering clear of it in general, particularly when it's linked to our recklessly consumerist culture.
Ugh. Don't let me get on that soapbox.
As I stood there, at Target, comparing boxes, a young woman walked by to grab tampons.
Do you know about these organic tampons?
I showed her the box. She came over, and we began reading box labels and discussing the issue of chemicals, bleaching, child labor.
In the end, we both agreed on two things: it was worth it to try organic at least once, and the Cora box's label was incredibly compelling.
I'd actually put this on a counter or something.
I know. Me too.
I purchased the Cora tampons (combination light/regular). For 36 tampons, I paid $9.99 (they were on sale). Regular, Tampax-brand tampons, were $6.99 for 36 tampons. I think they were also on sale.
Everything is on sale, it seems.
I used the tampons and can report back: they work as well as any others I've used. In fact, I didn't notice a difference when I used my old Tampax non-organic vs. the Cora.
So, the question of efficacy was solved. They were just as good, these organic tampons. Sometimes, organic or natural stuff isn't as good (i.e. face cream, shampoo, deodorant). So, this is important to me.
Now I just had to come to terms with whether or not I feel synthetic fabric and chemicals on my tampons are an issue compelling enough for me to spend 30% more on tampons.
In the end, I didn't know, and that scared me, so I bought the tampons. Upon further research, I found out that chlorine (used to bleach tampons) is an endocrine disruptor "and can be linked to endometriosis and even cancer."
Doctors caution that it would take quite a bit of chlorine (which contains dioxin) to lead to cancer or endometriosis, but a gynecologist from Phoenix, interviewed in the article said exposure to these chemicals does have a cumulative effect, concluding, "I usually advocate what you can do - and are able to do - to decrease exposure to things like that."
I don't love the thought of absorbing chemicals that disrupt my endocrine system, which opens up a whole can of worms I'll probably be dealing with this year. But I feel like now I at least understand some of the issues related to tampons and why organic, better-made products might be worth an extra $3 each month.
What do you think? Compelling?
I hope everyone is up to some sort of trouble today.
Just kidding. I don't like people getting up to trouble.
I hope everyone is just reading a good book, eating a lovely meal and enjoy another day.