Do Tampons Expire?
What You Need to Know
Tampon expiration dates are not set in stone. They vary from brand to brand and even from country to country. A common misconception is that all feminine hygiene products must have an expiration date on them because they contain harmful chemicals or other substances that could cause cancer if consumed over time. However, there are no known health risks associated with using tampons, pads or menstrual cups.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the safety of tampons, pads or menstrual cups. The FDA only regulates food, drugs and cosmetics that may pose a threat to public health.
In Canada, however, it is illegal to sell any product labeled “tampons” without having an expiration date on it. If you want to sell your product after that date has passed, you need a prescription from Health Canada.
So what’s the deal with tampons expiring?
The short answer: nobody really knows. Some experts believe that tampons don’t actually go bad at all, but rather lose their effectiveness over time due to exposure to heat and moisture. Others say that the material used in some brands of tampons deteriorates and eventually breaks down into tiny pieces, which then get absorbed through the skin when a woman urinates or defecates. The small pieces of fiber can cause itching, rashes or even Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a potentially fatal condition.
Regardless of the reason behind it, the reality is that every woman should be able to decide for herself when it comes to buying tampons. Many women and girls around the world cannot afford to buy feminine hygiene products every month, let alone every month.
Sources & references used in this article:
The imperative to warn: Disentangling the right to know from the need to know about consumer product hazards by L Noah – Yale J. on Reg., 1994 – HeinOnline
All about periods: Girls’ sources of information on menstruation by F Finlay, R Jones, T Kreitman – Community Practitioner, 2000 – search.proquest.com
… a team physician: the role of the modern team physician is demanding but rewarding. Here are the nuts and bolts of what’s involved and what you need to know to do … by TM McCambridge – Contemporary Pediatrics, 2006 – go.gale.com
Process and apparatus for the production of plastic-sheathed tampons by M Drown – Mississippi Review, 1990 – JSTOR
Doing it right: making smart, safe, and satisfying choices about sex by W Schuster – US Patent 3,784,425, 1974 – Google Patents