There is a common misconception in the UK concerning bleaching and dioxins in relation to tampons. This is purely a myth; tampons are neither bleached, nor are dioxins made in tampon manufacturing processes.
Tampons are not bleached, however the viscose or cotton used to make tampons has been through a purification process (which removes the lignin in wood pulp and the natural oily substances in cotton fibres) to help create a more effective and absorbent fibre. This process is commonly referred to as “bleaching” – hence the myth. Rest assured it’s nothing like the bleach you use to clean your toilet!
Dioxins are not added to tampons and current methods for processing and cleansing tampon fibres, including viscose and cotton, are not a source of dioxins. This concern around dioxins is often raised because before the 1990’s elemental chlorine gas was used by some manufacturers of the absorbent materials and in the process small quantities of dioxins were produced.! Nowadays this process is carried out using safe and environmentally friendly methods such as oxygen, peroxide (totally chlorine free) and chlorine dioxide bleaching (elemental chlorine free).
Tiny trace amounts of dioxins are everywhere in the environment, in rain water, and in food and because of this they have sometimes been detected in both cotton and viscose tampons, as well as many other feminine hygiene products. The exposure though is many tens or hundreds of thousands of times lower than from food. The important thing to remember is that at these tiny trace levels dioxins are not a concern to health.