One recent email message states that tampons contain harmful ingredients, including asbestos. The email states, ". . . because asbestos makes you bleed more . . . if you bleed more you need more." The email says tampons also contain dioxin, a chemical used in bleaching the products. "Dioxin is potentially carcinogenic and is toxic to the immune and reproductive systems," the email states.
Philip Tierno Jr., MD, chief of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center and an expert on tampon safety issues, says these allegations are absurd. Dr. Tierno examined manufacturers' documents during past toxic shock litigation, and says asbestos is not used in the manufacturing of tampons.
The dioxin claim has just enough of a basis in fact to give it an air of credibility. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says even though manufacturing processes are now considered dioxin-free, decades of pollution have left trace amounts in the environment. As a result, the raw materials used to make tampons may show trace amounts of dioxin. The level detected by extremely sensitive tests is akin to a teaspoon in a lake a mile wide and fifteen feet deep, a level so low there is no risk to consumers.