A lot of research into women’s health issues are so politically charged and end up being overly controversial with a massive split between party lines.
That’s why I do a little happy dance when we have an easy way to further women’s health that has absolutely NO impact on political opinion.
You use menstrual products often, right? Maybe you’ve already made the switch to a reusable or organic alternative, but there are countless more women who haven’t. Maybe they don’t realize there are alternatives, maybe the products aren’t on their priority list for what to do with their money, or maybe they don’t have access.
Whatever it is, we have many many women using menstrual products that we don’t truly know the safety of. Most of the testing on these products has been done by the companies that sell the products. Talk about a conflict of interest.
Some risks are commonly known, such as the risk of TSS with tampon use, but others aren’t known. What’s the effects of the chemicals in the menstrual products? What about the material and how it reacts to our skin and mucus membranes? We don’t know much on a large scientific study scale, and that’s important when we have anecdotes like women having extreme menstrual cramps (to the point that they believed they had endometriosis) and they all but stopped when they switched to cloth pads. Same thing with very heavy bleeding.
Just like I think it’s worth it to take a look into switching to cloth pads or a menstrual cup, I think it’s vital that we have real research on what these products might be doing to our health.
And that’s why I want to ask you to take a few minutes out of your time today and write to your congressperson.
About the bill
There is currently a bill called the Robin Danielson Act and it’s being reviewed by the H.R. Subcommittee on Health and they will put it up for a vote ‘sometime they see fit’. Here is more information on the Bill (taken from the petition listed below):
Like thousands of others, Robin Danielson, whom the bill is named after, was the victim of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a rare but potentially life-threatening illness that is often linked to high-absorbency tampon use. Robin’s death could have been prevented if only she had recognized the symptoms. Even today, many women are not fully aware of the risks of tampon use or symptoms of TSS.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one to two of every 100,000 women between the ages of 15-44 years old will be diagnosed with TSS each year. Yet, the last national surveillance was conducted in 1987 and reporting of TSS by the states is voluntary. It is clear we do not have enough transparent or timely information to evaluate the severity and risk of TSS today.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has recently introduced into Congress a piece of legislation, HR 4746, The Robin Danielson Act, that would advance the menstrual health and safety of girls and women everywhere. This legislation is necessary to provide women with accurate information about the safety of menstrual products and to increase awareness about the risk of TSS. The bill would require appropriate Federal agencies to conduct research and make available to the public information about the potential contaminants in menstrual products, particularly tampons and pads.
The more they hear from their constituents, the more pressure there will be to vote on this thing and make it happen!
Here’s what you can do
1.) Write to your congressperson! This is super easy. And I’m including info on how to do that below. This is particularly important if you live in the districts of any of the congresspeople on the health subcommittee. Those will be listed below, as well.
2.) Sign this petition by the Society of Menstrual Cycle Research. It’s getting off to a slow start, let’s change that!
A sample letter to send to your congressperson and how to find them
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.
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.
To locate 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/. You will be able to contact them directly on this site. Copy/paste the sample letter I gave you or add your own pizzaz and it’ll only take you a couple minutes.
The congresspeople who are members of the Health Subcommittee and are even more important to contact if you live in their districts are:
Dan Benishek (MI)
David Roe (TN)
Jeff Denham (CA)
Jim Huelskamp (KS)
Jackie Walorski (IN)
Brad Wenstrup (OH)
David Jolly (FL)
Julia Brownley (CA)
Corrine Brown (FL)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Gloria Negrete-McLeod (CA)
Ann Kuster (NH)
Thank you so much for your contribution and I know we can make this happen!