(NaturalNews) A newly introduced bill from New York Representative Carolyn Maloney aims to protect women from a rare condition called toxic shock syndrome. The measure also hopes to shed light on the hormone-disrupting effects of chemical fragrances, pesticides and dioxins that are lurking in many commercial feminine hygiene products.
"This bill will help determine the health effects of the entire range of hygiene products and provide women with the information they need to make informed choices," said Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY).
New bill calls for investigation into menstrual hygiene products, better education and awareness
The new Robin Danielson Act of 2014 calls on the National Institutes of Health to investigate the health risks associated with menstrual hygiene products that contain chemical fragrances, dioxins and chlorine. The proposed bill is named after a woman who became a victim to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) caused by bacterial toxins harbored by high-absorbency tampons.
The bill also calls on the Federal Drug Administration to publish information on potential contaminants like dioxins and phthalates, as well as monitor various feminine products, including pads, cups, sponges and liners.
Nearly half of the US population uses menstrual hygiene products, consuming over $2 billion per year. These products, which are so intimately connected to women's health, often contain questionable chemicals that disrupt a woman's reproductive system, causing endometriosis.
Non-organic cotton pads may contain hazardous amounts of pesticides which can enter the body and disrupt hormones. Phthalates are often disguised in chemical fragrances, which also disrupt hormones.
"Internally worn products, such as tampons and cups, are worn in the most absorbent part of the body, off and on for literally decades, yet there is a paucity of independent research that addresses the potential risks associated with these and other menstrual products," says Chris Bobel, a public health advocate.
Some of these products may also encourage the growth of a specific bacterium that can infect a woman and shut her organs down. Companies typically warn that between 1 and 17 in 100,000 women experience TSS from feminine absorbency products.
Women's organs may shut down due to toxic shock syndrome caused by high absorbency pads
Dr. Philip M. Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center, said, "I know that tampons are made primarily of viscose rayon; sometimes they may have mixes of cotton. And what I know is that the Chinese and other producers of cotton have had difficulty with crops."
He continued, "And the only other thing I can tell you is that all of the extant tampons on the [mainstream] market are made with the synthetic ingredient viscose rayon, in mixes with or without cotton, and all of these extant tampons are able to produce TSST1 toxin. In my studies I have clearly shown that, albeit viscose rayon is the best of the bad four ingredients in tampons and the other three have been removed, this still remains, and toxic shock still occurs in this country, and deaths also occur in this country." [emphasis added]
Dr. Tierno and other doctors are making a renewed push to educate women about the dangers of TSS. In 2010, 20-year-old Amy Elifritz died due to complications from TSS. The disorder originates from a bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus. High-absorbency tampons create a favorable environment for the bacterium to thrive, providing a warm, moist place for deadly toxins to spread. When the toxins get in the body, a woman may not have enough antibodies to stop it from consuming her immune system. The toxins ultimately infect the body, forcing the organs to shut down. Many companies warn women about TSS on product labels, as up to 17 in 100,000 are affected annually.