In a woman’s lifetime, she is likely to use 15,000 sanitary pads or tampons. An average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of tampons, pads and applicators in her lifetime. The great majority of these end up in landfills, or as something the sewage treatment plants must deal with. Plastic tampon applicators may not biodegrade for several hundred years.
The National Women’s Health Network states that twelve billion pads and 7 million tampons pollute landfills annually in the US.
A March-April 2001 E Magazine article states that, according to the Center for Marine Conservation, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999.
A March-April 2001 article in E Magazine cites waste consultant Franklin Associates’ assertion that 6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads, PLUS their packaging, ended up in landfills or sewer systems in 1998.
Plastic tampon applicators from sewage outfalls are one of the most common forms of trash on beaches.
For building owners, pads and tampons that are flushed down the toilet are the most common cause of plumbing problems.
According to a 1998 article in Vegetarian Times, studies conducted by the sanitary products industry have found that lurking within tampons are trace amounts of dioxin, a chemical deemed a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney from New York points out that there has been far more testing on the possible health effects of chlorine-bleached coffee filters than on chlorine-bleached tampons and related products.
According to Tom Riley, author of Price of a Life, who has represented more victims of Toxic Shock Syndrome than any other attorney: “All experts agree that the number of TSS cases in the United States are under reported. That is because reporting by the states to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is voluntary and most states are unwilling to incur the expense of gathering the data and submitting it to the CDC. As certain as the sun’s appearance in the East tomorrow, toxic shock syndrome will also appear in one or more tampon users, sometimes with deadly results but always with the infliction of a terrible ordeal and some residual effects.”