Again, Contact Your Congresswoman/man About the Proposed Tampon Safety and Research Act!

As reported here last week, there is a bill, H.R. 2900, in Congress to fund the testing of tampons and pads for disease-producing material without using the money of the manufacturers!

Women put pads and tampons onto and into their bodies for decades, and we really don't know what harmful effects that may have. Many contain dioxin and other disease-producing substances.

Do you trust the manufacturers to tell you?

Here's how to find out who your congresswoman/man is, and how to contact her/him to give your support:

1. Click the congressional directory.

2. E-mail, call or write her/him, say you support H.R. 2900, Tampon Safety and Research Act of 1997, and leave you name, address and phone number.

Read Representative Carolyn Maloney's speech introducing the tampon bill on the floor of the House of Representatives last fall, and visit her Web site. She represents part of New York City and has sponsored many bills supporting women.

In 1975, a small newspaper in Rochester, New York, challenged Procter & Gamble to tell the truth about its Rely tampon, which had problems obvious to many people. Only after the tampon killed and maimed scores of women five years later did the government force P&G to withdraw it from the market.

Read these historic articles, a gift to your MUM last year, plus other items about the Rely tampon, which "even absorb[ed] the worry."

And read the great item about this new funding effort, at SIS, Shop Information Services, a nonprofit site for women consumers run by a former New York Times reporter, Frances Cerra Whittelsey. You'll find much more information about this health effort, but also important information about what to buy and what to avoid in the consumer world, and the silliness of many products.

"Women have a right to know about vaginal products," says Rep. Maloney.

It's a matter of life and death.

Five E-Letters About Menstrual Cups

1. I have tried Instead several times and found that regardless of my efforts, positioning, etc., I have had leakage after just a few hours (less than 4 to 6). I am not someone with a heavier than average flow, so I don't understand this problem. Like other users have said, I have tried to reuse the Instead with no problems. They are so sturdy that I would simply wash them in anti-bacterial soap, rinse well, and dry. I never reused them excessively, just 2 or 3 times. I am interested in trying The Keeper, but the budget is not allowing the $35 at this time.

Once I do try it, I will return here and give you my feedback!

You are welcome to use my letter, I would be honored, and you have my permission to use my age and or name, should you desire. I am 25.

Should you want further contributions from me, please do not hesitate to contact me.



2. I have tried both The Keeper and Instead, and both have their drawbacks. Both leak if I have a full bowel or bladder. I feel that the Instead cup is easier to insert, but I hate the idea of it being non biodegradable. (I reuse mine also by washing it when I empty it; I use about 3 or 4 per period). The Instead, unfortunately, works better for me than The Keeper because of Instead's ease of insertion. It is also more comfortable. However, I believe in The Keeper product and its reusability and because of that am not going to return it. The best of both worlds, as some women have mentioned, would be to make a diaphragm ( it has a softer, more comfortable rim than the Instead) with a collection device built in, like the Instead, but is made out of natural gum rubber like the Keeper. Is anyone working on something like this? [Not that I know of, but someone should!]

It's great to see a Web site like this, by the way. Thanks!

3. I recently purchased Instead. It was very messy when inserting and taking it out. It is quite a problem when changing in public restrooms. I am very concerned about its environmental effects. Since it is not biodegradable I feel like I shouldn't use them. It is very reliable, though.

4. Mr. Finley: Firstly, excellent, excellent Web site. Three cheers for a man who cares so much about periods! [!]

Now, I have some comments and questions about Instead. Recently I was amazed and excited to discover it on my local NYC Rite Aid's shelf. I immediately bought it and tried it. Insertion -- no problem (I've been using o.b. for years.) Removal? Whoa! My first removal experience was terrible! I did so much wrenching around down there my bladder felt sore afterward.

BUT I did finally discover the secret! See, if you just try to hook it with your finger, it slips away from you every time, seeming to go deeper inside. Easy removal is facilitated by simply pushing hard as if you were having a baby! The cup is thrust forward and the rim easily accessible to a hooked fingertip. And out it slides.

Thank God I discovered this because otherwise I would have had to take a trip to the doctor's! Now, I'm totally devoted to Instead-- I don't feel it when it's in, no leakage, and the fact that I can wear it during sex is totally amazing.

However, I have growing concerns about Instead's manufacturer, Ultrafem, not staying in business! I have no FACTS to support this, but when I called their 800 number, it had been disconnected, and their Web site is no longer running! Help! I just discovered this miraculous product and I'll be terribly disappointed if they go under, like all the previous cup makers. Do you have any information about this? Do you know whom I could contact to find out more? [I am checking on this.]

I guess I could get The Keeper if I can no longer get Instead, but it can't be worn during sex and I'm not crazy about the idea of having to clean it.

Thanks! Help spread the word about Instead!

5. Hello.

I just wanted to say that I recently moved to Alabama from the state of Washington. In Washington, I bought Instead on a regular basis, because once I tried them, I was hooked. They are great!

I have a small problem, though. I cannot find them in any store in my area!!!

I am going to have to get my sister to buy some in Washington and mail them to me.

I have discovered, however, that Insteads can be washed with warm soapy water and reused probably hundreds of times. I have only two because I was used to throwing them away. But now I have been washing and reusing them because I will not go back to tampons ever again! LOL

Your Names . . .

Because of the nature of menstruation - many people are ashamed of it - I do not use names and addresses without permission from the writer, and I do not publish e-mail if the writer doesn't want it published. I do reserve the right to edit your letters for style or size.

© 1998 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to


PREVIOUS NEWS | First Page | FAQs | Directory | Index to News