Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is an extremely rare but serious illness which can affect men, women and children of any age. It is caused by the common bacteria – Staphylococcus aureus – which normally live harmlessly on the skin and in bodily cavities of one in every three people. In rare cases certain strains of these bacteria can produce toxins that cause TSS. TSS can follow localised infections for example following a burn, scald, insect bite, surgical procedures etc. A proportion of cases are linked to menstruation and tampon use.
It is estimated that about half of TSS cases are related to menstruation, but the research on TSS has not reached any precise conclusions on the link between TSS and tampon use.
Manufacturers follow the EDANA devised “ EU Tampons Code of Practice”, published to harmonise consumer information in all EU countries, irrespective of brand. It includes advice on correct tampon use, information about Toxic Shock Syndrome and a standardised test method to ensure the absorbency ratings are consistent. All tampon packs include detailed information on menstrual toxic shock and instructions for choosing and using tampons correctly.
EDANA’s members would like to reassure consumers about the safety of the billions of tampons placed on the EU market annually. The products meet or exceed all applicable national and European regulations. Tampons have a long history of safe use and this has recently been tested and confirmed by several health and safety authorities. Tampons are subject to stringent general safety requirements and are included in the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC (GPSD), which aims at ensuring that only safe consumer products are sold in the EU.