Tampon Safety Act in Congress– Needs Our Support!

I’m writing this post to you all from a blazing hot New York City Summer. Sadly, I’m not currently on a grand travelling adventure, but Sustainable Cycles has some exciting news to share from the Menstruation Activism world in general: Congress may pass a bill requiring federal study of the health risks of menstrual products!   Please read this post and take action by writing to your representatives and signing the petition. 

News from the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research:

This past May,Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney introduced into Congress a piece of legislation that would be huge advancement to the menstrual health and safety of girls and women in the US.  It’s called HR 4746, or the Robin Danielson Act, named after a woman who died from the effects of the contents of commercial tampons. The bill would require appropriate Federal agencies to conduct research and make available to the public information about the content of menstrual products, particularly tampons and pads.

qDilXyvmykAAyWT-556x313-noPad If all of this is new to you, here’s the background information in a nutshell. All the scientific research about the safety of tampons and pads that is currently available, has been funded by the pad and tampon corporations. Yes. You heard that right, and your jaw should have dropped. Not only that, but because of the way pads and tampons are categorized by the FDA, the manufacturers are not required to reveal to the public what their products are made of. And they don’t. Worse, they may share some ingredients, but not all. There are numerous chemists and microbiologists doing brilliant research on the actual effects of these conventional products (challenging, as even they can’t get access to an accurate account of what they are made of). But as I learned from NYU microbiologist Dr. Phillip Tierno (published work on Toxic Shock Syndrome), and from researchers in several fields at the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference, it is close to impossible to get this research published. It’s shocking, but that is the reality of corporate pressure on science.

If the act has any chance of passing it will require the collective effort of all of us. David Linton, with the support of the SMCR leadership, drafted a sample letter to members of Congress in support of the Act. The letter is copied below for your convenience. Feel free to modify the letter to suit your own views of how best to argue the case.
As it stands, the act was referred to the H.R. Subcommittee on Health on May 30th, 2014, so it will probably be most effective to contact the specific representatives on the committee (information below). They will review it, and put it up for a vote whenever they see fit.  There is no set timeline, but it’s likey that public pressure on the members of the committee will speed things along.
Let’s get behind this effort. Please contact your representative.

I just did it online. It took less than 5 minutes. Also, share this email/ post with others you know who are also involved in issues of women’s health and safety.

Dear Congressman (or Congresswoman). . . . . . .:

I am writing to to urge your support and co-sponsorship of HR 4746, The Robin Danielson Act, that was recently introduced by your colleague, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.  The bill is aimed at providing better safety and health care for girls and women through more effective testing and public information about the quality of widely used menstrual health products. It is important to note that this bill does not involve controversial areas of women’s health such as abortion or contraception.  Rather, it provides a means for members of Congress to address an important safety and health concern that affects virtually all girls and women between the ages of 13 and 50.  Simply, the act would require the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research whether menstrual hygiene products that contain dioxin, synthetic fibers, and other chemical additives like chlorine and fragrances, post health risks. The bill has already been endorsed by a wide variety of women’s, consumer, and environmental organizations, including the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research of which I am a member. Should you desire more details about the intentions of the legislation or the positive ways to will help advance the safety and health needs of girls and women, I would be happy to provide more information.  Meanwhile, I look forward to hearing your views on the bill and hope that you will give it your full support. Thank you for considering this request.



Members of the Subcommittee on Health:
Republicans: Dan Benishek (MI), David Roe (TN), Jeff Denham (CA), Jim Huelskamp (KS), Jackie Walorski (IN), Brad Wenstrup (OH), and David Jolly (FL).
Democrats: Julia Brownley (CA), Corrine Brown (FL), Raul Ruiz (CA), Gloria Negrete-McLeod (CA), Ann Kuster (NH)

If you’d like to also contact your member of Congress: Use the following link to the House of Representative web site.  There’s a zip code search function in the upper right corner of the main site – http://house.gov/. As the bill is referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, it would be helpful to have members of that committee  as cosponsors but any new cosponsors would help advance the bill.

The other easy way you can make your voice heard is to sign this petition started by Ingrid Johnston-Robledo and Angela Barney of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. “Congress: Robin Danielson Act–Research regarding risks posed by dioxin, synthetic fibers, and other additives in feminine hygiene products” It will take 30 seconds to sign it right now. Here’s the link: http://www.change.org/petitions/congress-robin-danielson-act-research-regarding-risks-posed-by-dioxin-synthetic-fibers-and-other-additives-in-feminine-hygiene-products