Have you ever come across a situation where you are struggling to dispose of your used tampons? There is a possibility that you might end up flushing it down your main drain pipe or the toilet. In such circumstances, you need to be aware of what kinds of chemicals are within a tampon and how you can dispose of it easily.
Tampons in nature are non-biodegradable and are almost impossible to break down. The reason behind it is the chemical composition of the product. But, if in certain circumstances, you flush your used tampon down the toilet or drain pipe, you can use Drano chemical to unclog your pipes.
Let’s take a detailed overview of how tampons can be properly disposed of without causing any environmental and structural problems within your bathroom. Along with this, the following headings will clear out all your queries clouding inside your head.
What Are Tampons Made Of?
A tampon is a widely used menstrual product consumed around the globe. It is commonly made up of cotton, rayon, dioxin, and bisphenol-A (BPA). Other substances like Chlorine, Fragrances, non-organic cotton, and plastic are also used in some tampon brands.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), tampons are considered medical instruments. In order to be FDA-approved, tampons are supposed to be made from cotton, rayon, or a blend of both. But they are not the only component used for manufacturing the tampons. Here is a list of ingredients commonly used in tampons:
It is a synthetically produced compound generally known as artificial silk. It comprises natural cellulose extracted from plants which are then converted into a soluble material. It is extremely absorbent. Thus, it is widely used in menstrual products like tampons and sanitary napkins.
However, it is not recommended to use Rayon in such products as it increases the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) within people.
Regular tampons are made up of cotton. It is a natural material and ideal for such hygiene products. The reason behind this is that cotton is known for its absorbency and skin-friendly characteristics. Also, it is naturally produced. Hence it will not negatively impact human health.
Another commonly used substance in the manufacturing of tampons is Dioxin. It is a chemical that is produced from chlorine processing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dioxin is harmful, even if used in minute quantities.
Thus, it is used in tampons. Dioxin is a synthetic compound – if the skin is exposed to it for a long time, it might result in hormonal disturbance and other skin-related problems.
It is a chemical resulting from producing plastic. Today, multiple tampon brands use Bisphenol-A (BPA) in their products even when this chemical can lead to problems like breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, and whatnot!
What Happens if You Accidentally Flush a Tampon Down the Toilet?
In situations when you accidentally dispose of your tampon down the toilet, there is a possibility that the product will block the sewerage pipes and the toilet will clog. Keep an eye on your plumbing network and check if the drains are running slow. In either of the circumstances, call a professional to inspect your toilet.
At times, people unconsciously or, due to lack of awareness, flush their tampons down the toilet. If you are one of them, the following paragraphs are just for you!
Don’t worry; if you have just flushed it once or twice, your toilet won’t get severely clogged, nor will your drainage pipes leak. But if you habitually dispose of your tampons this way, there is a high chance that your toilet will get clogged.
The following are two signs that would show up once your toilet starts to clog. Keep an eye for either of the signs and call in professional help if needed:
- Keep an eye on your plumbing system, and be vigilant about how well your toilet flushes. Look for any sort of blockage that might disrupt your drainage system.
- Check if the water is draining properly, like usual. If there is a blockage, you will notice a visible change in the time water takes to drain.
When you have sensed that the tampon that you just flushed accidentally or unconsciously has clogged the toilet, call for professional help. It is recommended that you don’t do it yourself until and unless you don’t have prior information on how you can unclog your toilet and remove the tampon.
Risks Involved While Disposing of Used Tampons
After using tampons, it is important to dispose of the tampons properly, or else it might adversely impact your environment and the people around you. Risks involved while disposing of your used tampons include transmission of diseases, clogged toilets, and emitting toxins into the environment.
Have you ever wondered why people stress so much about the safe disposal of tampons? You might have thought about it but would still be puzzled because of a lack of awareness. But don’t worry; just read the following factors, and you will get the gist of the whole thing!
Transmission of Diseases
The used tampons contain your body fluids. Although these fluids might not be dangerous for you, if they come in contact with other people, including children, friends, and family around you, these fluids might pose health threats.
There is a high risk of disease transmissions like HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C when these fluids are not disposed of properly.
Damage to the Environment
Unfortunately, tampons are non-biodegradable. Thus, disposing of them in the environment can prove to be harmful. Feminine hygiene products like tampons and sanitary pads can take around 800 years to decompose and completely break down.
As we have talked about earlier, disposing of tampons down the toilet or drain is not a good idea. The reason behind this is that the tampons block the sewerage pipes and clog your toilets. They don’t dissolve in water and stay there until someone unclogs the pipes.
What Chemicals Can You Use to Dissolve Tampons?
Tampons can’t be broken down or dissolved by using different chemicals. However, in accidental situations where you unconsciously drop down the tampon and flush the toilet, you can use the Drano chemical to clear out any sort of blockage in your drainage system.
As mentioned earlier, tampons are made up of rayon, plastic, Bisphenol-A (BPA), Dioxin, and other chemicals. The majority of them are nonbiodegradable as they are synthetic. As a result, it is almost impossible to find a solution that can break down or dissolve tampons.
However, there is a bathroom solution, Drano, that helps to clear clogged toilets and drainage systems. You can try dissolving the tampon through this chemical. It will not completely dissolve, but after using it, the tampon can be flushed down the toilet or pipe.
How to Dispose of Tampons Safely in the Environment?
After using a tampon, you can dispose of it safely by covering it up with toilet paper and throwing it in a garbage bin. If you are using a public toilet, don’t leave your used tampon as it is or flush it down the toilet. Instead, dispose of it in a suitable dustbin available in the vicinity.
Here are two ways to dispose of your tampons safely:
- While using your private toilet, ensure that the used tampon is properly covered so that the blood is no longer dripping on your hands or other things in the surrounding area. Then throw it in the garbage bag or bin as soon as possible, or else it might start stinking.
- If you are using a public toilet stall, wrap the tampon properly to ensure that there is no mess, as, after you, many people will use the same toilet. Then, instead of leaving it on the bathroom floor, drop it carefully in the garbage bin available in the vicinity.
To sum it up, tampons are made up of various synthetic substances that make them non-biodegradable materials in nature. As a result, you can not just dispose of it down your toilet or your drain pipes as it will clog it and cause multiple structural problems.
After reading this article, you will now have a complete overview of what types of substances you can use to dissolve and dispose of your used tampons.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.