Menstrual pads and tampons are safely used by women all over the world and are a popular choice for women during menstruation.
For some 40 to 45 years of their lives, women and girls throughout the world need to manage both regular and intermittent bleeding and discharges as a natural consequence of being a woman. Menstruation continues to be a taboo; even in more liberal societies menstruation can still be an embarrassing subject.
The variety of products now available, both internal and external feminine protection products and their comfort and size have helped to facilitate the increasing independence of women and their ability to be active at all times of the month.
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Tampons have a long history of use across the globe, with millions of products in safe daily use.
Tampons are made of well-proven materials that are also used in a variety of other everyday products which have proven safety profiles. The raw materials are carefully selected for the highest quality and undergo extensive safety evaluation to ensure a lack of harmful effects and good tolerability before they are approved and used during manufacturing. In order to deliver a safe product, tampons are made under high quality production control standards including a series of checks and tests based on company quality assurance systems and user monitoring programmes.
Within the European Union tampons must comply with the General Product Safety Directive that holds manufacturers responsible for providing consumers with products that are safe to use. You can read more about the legal requirements and the voluntary guidelines applied in the industry in EDANA’s “Safety and Regulatory Supply Chain Information for Absorbent Hygiene Care Products Aug 2018”.
In addition, tampon manufacturers in Europe follow the “ EU Tampons Code of Practice”, or a national equivalent.
The Code of Practice was published to harmonise relevant consumer information in all EU countries, irrespective of the tampon brand used. Key elements of the Code of Practice include :
To ensure safe use of the product, manufacturers recommend reading the detailed instructions inside the packaging, as well as information on the packaging itself.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but serious, potentially life-threatening illness that can affect men, women and children of any age. It is estimated that about half of TSS cases are related to menstruation, and the research on TSS has not reached any precise conclusions on the link between TSS and tampons use.
Some studies have suggested that there is a link with absorbency of tampons, and it is therefore important that women choose the tampons with the lowest absorbency to suit their menstrual flow.
With early diagnosis, toxic shock syndrome can be successfully treated. Sadly, however, out of the small number of people who fall ill each year, 2-3 people die from TSS. It is important to remember that if TSS is diagnosed and treated early, there is a good chance of recovery.
Symptoms of TSS can include a sudden high fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness and/or a sunburn-like rash.
In case you or anyone you know experience any symptoms of TSS, please seek medical attention immediately. If you are wearing a tampon, remove it immediately and inform your doctor that you are menstruating.
You can find more detailed information about TSS on the websites below:
Cotton and rayon absorbent fibres used to manufacture menstrual tampons are equally safe for product safety including the risk for contracting TSS.
Tampon manufacturers in Europe have organised themselves within the Absorbent Hygiene Products Working Group of EDANA to coordinate the activities of the tampon manufacturing industry in areas of mutual interest.
For information on the safety of feminine care products consult :