PROTECT WOMEN FROM DIOXIN AND TOXIC SHOCK

Feb 14, 2001
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Protecting the health of women, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) introduced H.R. 360, The Robin Danielson Act today. The bill directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct research to determine the extent to which the presence of dioxin, synthetic fibers, and other additives in tampons and related products pose any health risks to women. The legislation also asks the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to collect and report information on Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

"I introduced this legislation so that American women can make educated consumer decisions about a product that has the potential to endanger their health and their lives," Maloney said. "73 million American women use tampons, but there is no research to support the absolute safety of the product. This legislation will also provide health professionals and doctors with information to correctly inform their patients about the safety of these products."

Tampons are used by approximately 73 million American women - that's 53% of American women and almost a third of the total population. Women can have a total lifetime use of 16,800 tampons.

Congresswoman Maloney first introduced legislation related to tampon safety in the 105th Congress with the Tampon Safety and Research Act of 1997. In 1999, Congresswoman Maloney introduced the Robin Danielson Act.

Background:

Dioxin is a toxic by-product of a chlorine-bleaching process used in the manufacture of paper products, including the raw materials that are used in tampons. The Environmental Protection Agency has released reports identifying dioxin as a "probable cancer-causing agent"and linking dioxin exposure with increased risks for endometriosis (an often painful menstrual-related condition that is a leading cause of infertility). Other potential health risks from dioxin include immune system suppression, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility.

The Robin Danielson Act (H.R. 360) directs the NIH to conduct research to determine the extent to which the presence of dioxin, synthetic fibers, and other additives in tampons and related products pose any health risks to women including endometriosis and breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare bacterial illness associated with kidney and liver failure and is potentially life threatening. Research has shown that TSS in menstruating women is related to the use of tampons that are too absorbent.

Reporting of Toxic Shock Syndrome to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently optional and uneven. No one knows the number of TSS cases and deaths. The Robin Danielson Act directs the CDC to establish a program for the collection of this data.

 

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