Did You Hear the One about Fluorochemicals?

Anyone who has ever worked with me in my healing practice or is a friend of mine knows that I’m a strong believer in signs and coincidences. This week, timely messages caught my attention in unusual ways. In the past few days I’ve spent many hours digging for medical resources to back up a blog post on the Robin Danielson Act that I hope to publish on a well-known site. I’m not a doctor, nor am I a scientist, but I am a concerned consumer. As such, I’m inspired to share how a man sitting under a tree reading his newspaper, a call from a best friend asking about pans, and recent news on fluorochemicals—chemical compounds containing fluorine that are in many common daily products— are signs that point to health risks people should be aware of, and are worth highlighting.

Man sitting under a tree

In August of 2014, I took to the streets of Hoboken, New Jersey, to hang up flyers about the Robin Danielson Act—a petition before Congress to mandate companies that manufacture tampons and pads to disclose their ingredients and possible health risks. While hanging flyers, I met a man in a random spot on the sidewalk, sitting on a beach chair under a tree, reading his newspaper. I gave him a flyer and told him about the Robin Danielson Act. In a hushed tone, he shared that he used to consult for the XYZ Company, which made cables. At this company, he attended meetings where discussions centered on refining the technology to repel and absorb (hydrophobic versus hydrophilic) water from cables and female hygiene products—tampons and pads.

My stomach turned a little bit as I walked away. Back in the day, I remember anxiously whispering to a bestie in the hallway at school, “Did I leak?” I pondered if the collective fear of leaking brought us to a place where intimate products that woman regularly use would be bundled up with substances related to cables? The environment of the womb and its surrounding female organ girlfriends is a delicate sanctuary of flow, life, and valuable chemical-messaging in the body. It’s a completely different world from an industrial cable.

Flash forward to March 2, 2015. While searching for medical information about chemicals in tampons, I stumbled upon a patent for Fluorochemicals from 1997. Just to reiterate, I’m not a scientist; so the dense article was difficult to wade through, but, basically, it explains how and why fluorochemicals as hydrophilic additives to thermoplastic polymers are good at absorbing. Try to read that description five times fast . . . doesn’t the information just flow seamlessly? (Sarcasm). Imagine your pad and think about it like a sandwich. Not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but a sandwich made up of different layers. The backing sheet acts as a water repellent, the top sheet is porous and acts as an absorbent layer. The patent in 1997 changed the chemical make-up of the absorbent layer in between and the interaction between the different sandwich layers.

To learn more extremely technical and detailed information about this patent read here. For more information about other patents related to tampons, pads, and other products read here.

While the lack of information about the toxins in tampons and pads is concerning, it’s quite mind-blowing to consider just how prevalent this fluorochemical stuff is—diapers, incontinence pads, paper towels, facial tissues, to name just a few.

My bestie girlfriend since 2nd grade

On March 3rd, while I was fact-checking my Robin Danielson article, my close girlfriend—I’ll call her Mrs. Mallomar in honor of the cookie she loves—called from a department store. She’s one of the girlfriends I used to ask if I leaked at school. Mrs. Mallomar was about to buy pans and wanted to know which pan was better—Teflon or a ceramic one. I suggested she avoid buying Teflon, although I couldn’t recall the chemical(s) related to Teflon. Our conversation lasted fewer than 45 seconds. It was a quickie convo that caused me to jot down a note to research the chemical.

Important heads up from scientists

After my phone call, I went back to digging into my new word of the week—fluorochemical. It just so happens that fluorochemicals are used in Teflon pots and pans for their non-stick feature. I also came across an interesting headline in ScienceDaily.com from August 27, 2014: “Leading scientists call for a stop to non-essential use of fluorochemicals.” The article mentions that “The problem with fluorochemicals is that they are difficult to break down and accumulate in both humans and the environment.” The scientists also suggest that although some countries (Norway, Canada, USA) regulate flurochemicals, using fluorinated alternatives could also be harmful, because they are sometimes used in greater quantities, offsetting their benefit. Testing is needed to understand any negative health effects of using the alternatives. Although Guardians of the Galaxy made big box office news in August, 2014, I don’t recall this health report being mentioned in the news anywhere.

Recent news

If I didn’t know about fluorochemicals, or if I hadn’t received that phone call from my bestie, I might have missed health reports related to fluorochemicals in the past week. When the scientists above mention “non-essential use,” I have a hunch they might consider the following as falling in that category:

    • Fluoridated water and fluoride in toothpaste—On March 4th news came out that water fluoridation promotes thyroid dysfunction. Dr. Mercola outlines important risks and tips on fluoridation. It’s important to note that a woman’s thyroid function is important to her fertility and pregnancy. Dr. Mercola points out that side effects of thyroid dysfunction include weight gain and depression. Side effects also are linked to harm to the fetus in hypothyroid pregnant women, a condition that might lower the child’s IQ and cause other neurological issues.
    • Carpets—The EPA just put out a notice on March 10th on Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that is linked to risks in carpets and a host of other common uses. Please read here for important information that isn’t mentioned as often as what’s going on with The Real Housewives of XYZ.
    • Tampons and Pads—Besides the fluorochemical link, female hygiene products are linked to dioxin, a probably cancer-causing agent and other toxins—pesticides, phthalates—linked to endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are especially not ideal for hormonal balance, fertility and pregnancy.

Fluorochemicals are no joke. My intention for posting this content is to bring more awareness to health-related information that is not loudly discussed, so that we can make informed choices. Due to costs of changing every pot, pan, carpet, etc., that could be overwhelming . . . I suggest offering a blessing to products that you use—not in a dogmatic way—but in way that serves your highest good. If you’re using common tampons and pads, I suggest looking into healthier alternatives.


Lorraine Giordano
Inspired To Health