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Please pass on to as many women as possible .  If you use pads, but especially if youuse tampons read this and  pass on to your friends (for the men receiving this email, please forward it to your friends, significant others,sisters, mothers, daughters,etc.) thanks!

Have you heard that tampon makers include asbestos in tampons? Why would they do this? Because asbestos makes you bleed more . . . if you  bleed  more, you're going to need to use more. Why isn't this against the law  since asbestos is so dangerous?  Because the powers that be, in all their wisdom (not), did not  consider  tampons as being ingested, and therefore wasn't illegal or  considered  dangerous.  This month's Essence magazine has a small article about this and they mention two manufacturers of a cottontampon alternative. The companies are Organic Essentials @ (800) 765-6491 and Terra Femme @ (800)755-0212.

A woman getting her Ph.D. at University of Colorado @ Boulder sent the  following:  "I am writing this because women arenot being informed about the dangers  of something most of us use - tampons. I am taking a class this month  and I have been learning a lot aboutbiology and woman, including  much about feminine hygiene.  Recently we have learned that tamponsare actually dangerous (for other  reasons than TSS). I'll tell you this,after learning about this in our  class, most of the females wound upfeeling angry and upset with the  tampon industry, and I for one, am going to do something about it.  To start, I want to inform everyone Ican, and email is the fastest way that I know how.  Here is the scoop: Tampons contain two things that are potentially  harmful:  Rayon (for absorbency), and dioxin (a chemical used in bleaching the products). The tampon industry isconvinced that we, as women, need  bleached white products - in order to view the product as pure and clean.  The problem here is that the dioxinproduced in this bleaching process can  lead to very harmful problems for a woman.  Dioxin is potentially carcinogenic (cancer-associated) and is toxic to  the  immune and reproductive systems. It has also been linked to  endometriosis  and lower sperm counts for men - for both, it breaks down the immune system.  Last September the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported  that  there really is no set "acceptable"level of exposure to dioxin  given  that  it is cumulative and slow to disintegrate. The real danger comes from repeated contact (Karen Houppert "Pulling the Plug on the Tampon  Industry").  I'd say using about 4-5 tampons a day, five days a month, for 38  menstruating years is "repeated contact", wouldn't' you?  Rayon contributes to the danger of tampons and dioxin because it is a  highly absorbent substance. Therefore, when fibers from the tampons  are  left behind in the vagina (as itusually occurs), it creates a  breeding  ground for the dioxin. It also staysin a lot longer than it would  with  just cotton tampons. This is also the reason why TSS (toxic shock syndrome) occurs.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES? Using feminine hygiene products that aren't bleached and that are all cotton.Other feminine hygiene products pads/napkins contain dioxin as well,but they are not nearly as  dangerous since they are not in direct contactwith the vagina. The pads/napkins  need to stop being bleached, but obviously tampons are the most  dangerous.  So, what can you do if you can't giveup using tampons? Use tampons,  that  are made from 100% cotton, and that are UNBLEACHED.Unfortunately,  there  are very, very few companies that makethese safe tampons. They are  usually only found in health foodstores.  Countries all over the world (Sweden,German, British Columbia,  etc.)  have demanded a switch to this safertampon, while the U.S. has decided to keep us in the dark about it. In 1989,activists in England mounted a campaign against chlorine bleaching. Six weeks and 50,000 letters later,the  makers of sanitary products switched to oxygen bleaching (one of the  green methods available). (MS magazine,May/June 1995).

WHAT TO DO NOW: Tell people. Everyone. Inform them. We are being manipulated by this industry and thegovernment, let's do something about it!  Please write to the companies: Tampax(Tambrands), Playtex,  O.B.,Kotex.  Call the 800 numbers listed on the boxes. Let them know that we demand a  safe product - ALL COTTON UNBLEACHED TAMPONS.  Thank you. Donna C. Boisseau & Stephanie C.Baker;  Assistants to Dr. B.S.Katzenellenbogen,  Professor University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology  (217) 333-9769  Bernice Devereaux Senior Clerk - Finance  Telemedicine/TETRA  Faculty of Medicine  Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Canada  A1B 3V6  www.med.mun.ca/telemed  709-737-6654 (general office) 709-758-8305 (voice mail)