The environmental impact of the manufacturing of feminine products is another reason to use organic tampons. While cotton tampons may seem better than synthetic, most cotton undergoes industrial bleaching in a polluting process that dumps dioxins, along with other hazardous organochlorines, into the water supply.

Organic cotton tampons and pads are treated with hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach, making them a safer alternative. If the label states that the product is third-party certified organic, that means the cotton has been grown without pesticides on land where no pesticides have been applied for at least three years.

In response to concerns over dioxin in tampons and their impact on the environment, the EPA and some manufacturers have worked to find a better way of purifying wood pulp and cotton without creating dioxins. The result is chlorine-dioxide bleaching, a process that has replaced the elemental chlorine-gas method of the past but still generates low trace levels of dioxins.

The packaging of tampons is another troublesome environmental issue. Most are encased in a paper or cellophane wrapper, contain a cardboard or plastic applicator, and are packed in boxes. Though you can't recycle cotton tampons, there are waste-saving alternatives to dealing with menstruation, such as washable natural sponge tampons and cloth pads, and reusable, but awkward, vaginally inserted menstrual cups that collect flow.