According to a TikTok video with millions of views, titanium dioxide, a common tampon chemical, promotes cancer and other gynecological and reproductive problems. This is false; the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has permitted the substance’s usage in foods and cosmetics, and experts claim that there is no scientific evidence connecting tampon strings to human cancer.
In a TikTok video posted on July 30, 2022, a lady claims, “One of the components on the back of the container is titanium dioxide, which if you didn’t know, causes cancer.”
The woman in the video is shown holding a box of L. brand organic tampons while claiming that someone suffered from “excessive bleeding with intense pain, ovarian cysts, and irreversible uterine damage” as a result of using them.
There were over 1.5 million likes on the video. Similar accusations regarding tampons have been made in posts that have gone viral on Facebook here, here, and here.
Natural mineral titanium dioxide is typically utilized as a whitening agent in goods like paint and toothpaste. These articles were published in response to a class-action lawsuit filed in July 2022 against Mars Inc. that alleged the manufacturer’s Skittles candy is “unfit for human consumption” due to the presence of the substance.
Based on studies showing that rats exposed to high concentrations of titanium dioxide developed lung cancer, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classed the substance as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” In March 2022, the European Food Safety Authority outlawed the mineral.
However, the FDA has authorized its usage in tampon strings as well as in food and cosmetic products. Additionally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no solid evidence connecting titanium dioxide to human cancer.
Concerns about tampon strings have been addressed by the feminine hygiene company L. on their FAQ page.
The business claims that the hygiene-grade thread it uses to firmly fasten the cord to the absorbent portion of the tampon contains titanium dioxide. It makes up significantly less than 0.1% of all tampon constituents.
According to the manufacturer, the components in its tampons “meet strict safety and governmental laws around the world” and are “safe when used as recommended.”
The post is “an inflated claim at minimum,” according to Timothy Rebbeck, professor of medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and professor of cancer prevention at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
There is titanium dioxide in these goods, but the worry that it leads to malignancies and other issues with the reproductive system, in his opinion, is unfounded by research.
The accusations are overstated, according to a blog post by Canadian obstetrician and gynecologist Jen Gunter.
“There is no evidence that titanium dioxide in food or other items is harmful, but some recent rat studies revealed that consuming large amounts (more than we could ever get from food or tampons) every day for 90 days would possibly create some intestinal issues,” the expert stated.
Tampon use is not associated with cancer or damage to the reproductive system, but this does not mean it is risk-free. Despite being uncommon, bacterial illnesses like toxic shock syndrome can be fatal.
Don’t panic until you are certain whether it is true or not, he said.
Other false and unsubstantiated cancer causes have been debunked by AFP here, here, and here.
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