• Wed, Mar 28 2012

Woman Finds Mold On Tampons, Kotex Is Like ‘Whatevs’

Do you take your tampons out of their applicators and check them for mold before inserting them into your vagina? Bet you will after reading this story!

A woman named Danielle was recently horrified when one of her Kotex tampons fell out of its applicator to reveal big, nasty, black spots of mold. Mold that totally would have ended up in her vagina, had she not noticed before using any of them. She was rightfully PO’ed, and emailed some photos of the grossness to Kotex as well as posting them on her blog.

She received the following response:

Dear Danielle,

Thanks for contacting us about your experience with KOTEX® SECURITY® tampons.  We are very sorry that you were disappointed with your recent purchase of our product.

We understand how distressing it can be to find mold on a product that is used for personal hygiene and apologize for your concern.  In instances where it has been found, we conducted tests on the product involved and have found the mold to be a common environmental species that carries no health risk.  The vegetative mold is similar in nature to mold on vegetables or in baked goods.

You can be confident that we are diligently reviewing our manufacturing process to ensure this problem does not recur.  Because our customers and their well-being are very important to us, we want to assure you that the quality and safety of our products are our top priorities.  We apply very rigorous procedures to our products to ensure that they are safe for their intended use.

With the hope that you will continue to use SECURITY tampons with confidence, we are sending you some coupons through the mail for your use on future purchases.

Betty
Consumer Services, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Lead the world in essentials for a better life.

Translation: “Don’t worry about that black mold we tried to sneak into your body via tampons because it is totally fine to put up there. Just think of it like your vagina is eating a cookie! Here are some coupons for more mold cookies.”

Needless to say, Danielle was not too satisfied with this response and posted the following:

Yeah, that’s real reassuring. I was grossed out in the first place and their response just makes it worse! Seems this is a fairly common problem … and that is a cause for serious concern. I doubt most people get as lucky as I did – I just so happened to accidentally expose the mold and I am so glad that I did! Most people wouldn’t be so fortunate. [tagbox tag="tampons"]

Thanks for the coupons, Kotex, but I can confidently say I’ll never be purchasing any of your products ever again.

It was at this point that the internet began to notice, blowing up Kimberly-Clark’s Facebook page and talking shit and non-stop. This triggered the “human PR person damage control response,” and Danielle received the following letter:

Dear Danielle,

I just read your message to us on Facebook and I wanted to tell you that we are so sorry you had this experience! In [redacted]‘s eagerness to get back to your e-mail right away, she unfortunately sent you incorrect information concerning this issue.

Nothing is more important to us than consumer safety. Any discoloration or abnormality with our tampons is extremely rare, and we want to do a full investigation to determine the source and follow-up with our manufacturing facility. So if you still have the tampon, can you please return it to us by using the prepaid mailing envelope we’re sending you?

We’d also really like to get on the phone with you and find out more to help us in our investigation. Please give us a call at [redacted] and ask for [redacted], or reply to this e-mail and give us your phone number and the best time to contact you.

Again, we are so sorry this happened and thank you so much for getting in touch with us and giving us the chance to help make sure this doesn’t happen again.

[redacted]
Account Executive
Consumer Services, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Lead the world in essentials for a better life.

This is a little bit better, but still: even just knowing that this is a possibility makes my vagina want to sew itself shut forever. Have I already used moldy tampons without even realizing it? I haven’t felt this skeeved out since my cousin told me I had probably already eaten, like, a hundred spiders in my sleep. Tampons are convenient and all, but this might just be the final push I need to switch over to the Diva Cup forever.

(Via Jezebel)

Share This Post:
  • Geraldine

    What is the Diva Cup??? Sounds spesh.

    • Niki

      A small ‘cup’ made of medical grade silicone. You fold or roll it up, insert into your vagina, and it forms a suction that keeps it in place. It catches all the contents of your period and can be kept in for 12 hours – the suction means there is no leaking, and no smell (the blood won’t be exposed to air, unlike with a pad or tampon).

      When its full at the end of the day, you break the seal using kegels or your finger, remove, empty, rinse, use a vaginal-safe soap if you like to clean it (i.e. divawash), reinsert. At the end of your period, you can boil for a deep clean.

      Since its medical grade silicone, it is nonporous and sterile, and it only catches the menstrual fluids – rather than absorbing everything, from blood to the good vaginal fluids that keep things balanced.

    • LoveyDovey

      Like Niki says, though I had to empty mine more often because I have a heavy flow- but it’s still awesome. I’ve been using them since I was 19 and haven’t looked back. This article sure grossed me out!

  • Sara B.

    Diva cup?

    • Karyn

      They copied The Keeper, which as been available since 1987 and is made in the USA

  • Elle

    Ew! No, I don’t (because?) it is SO hard to get them back in! Ahh, what’s a lady to do?!

    Yeah, now I will and life will be ever worse/even more difficult!!!

    I’m pretty glad it’s the last day of my period and I don’t have one in. Also pretty thankful I always oddly look at that kind of stuff, even if later.

    BTW, coupons? Eff you, Kotex!

  • BeccaTheCyborg

    Diva cups are pretty much the best thing ever. Not just because you aren’t sticking a dry wad of (probably moldy!) cotton up there, though that’s (now) high on the list of reasons for.

  • RM

    I’ve used the Diva cup, but honestly I prefer OB. You can see them, no applicators–and I find my finger inserting them 100% more comfortable/less skeevy than some cardboard or plastic. I mean, it’s my finger in my body. Why would I buy some plastic to do the same job?

  • Renee

    I hope this helps more people learn about menstrual cups. Unless you have a condition that prevents use (no, virginity is not a condition :p) these are the only way to go! You can order some Luna Pads, too, in case you’re the type who favors backup when you’re using tampons.

  • Wendy

    So for this DivaCup, what do you do when you have to pee? and is the cup very big? I googled it and it looks disturbingly big to keep in there all day

    • Jamie Peck

      You don’t pee out your vagina! It actually seems like it would be better than peeing with a tampon in, because there’s no string there to get soaked with pee.

    • Wendy

      Ohhh!! lol I always get confused..

    • BeccaTheCyborg

      Seconding the “you don’t pee out your vagina” thing.

      It’s not very big, no. I can’t wear tampons anymore because they fucking hurt like a motherfucker (pelvic pain issues), and the Divacup pretty much feels like nothing when it’s in properly. Like, I’ve had to think if I remembered to put it back in.

    • Karyn

      I have used The Keeper, original manufacturer beginning back in 1987 or so and based in the USA, since I was 15. Never an issue.

  • Carly

    FYI, if ever sent a letter like this DO NOT send the item back to them or “call and help with their investigation.” They are now trying to avoid litigation. I don’t think its a better response, I think its much worse, because now Kotex is trying to simmer down the PR and avoid a costly lawsuit and the apology doesn’t seem meaningful after the initial response by the “confused” aka “now currently unemployed” Kotex PR worker.

  • sweetpea

    Thats a good point about tampons absorbing all the vaginal fluids. nothings worse than trying to drag this roll of cotton out of a very dry vagina!! men have no freakin idea what we go thru…..

  • Julia Schopick

    What an awful thing to have happen. Kudos to Danielle for going public about it. Just as upsetting as the fact that she found mold in a tampon is the company’s response to her. But there are other little-known risks associated with these synthetic disposable menstrual products. One risk — still! — is Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

    I recently interviewed a survivor of this deadly disease — Suzan Hutchinson — for Keeper.com, the website of The Keeper and Moon Cup reusable menstrual cups. Susan is now a spokesperson for You-ARE-loved.org, an organization dedicated to educating women about the fact that Toxic Shock is still a threat, especially to younger women.

    There are other options out there that women can use. One is reusable menstrual cups; another is reusable cotton menstrual pads. Both are also environment-friendly and pocketbook-friendly, because they are not tossed away after a single use. And as far as I know, there have been no cases of MOLD associated with either one of these options.

    To listen to the interview with Suzan, please go to keeper.com/hutchinson.html.

    Thanks so much.
    Julia Schopick
    Marketing Director
    The Keeper, Inc.

  • yiraf

    FTW?? How Do we know that tampon has not being sitting in her purse for like 5000 years and she just found it?? How do we know it was “recently purchased”?? Has someone raised this concern before?? Maybe as an avid (enthusiastic??) tampon user I am in denial about this issue but come on that was the first q that popped into my head! especially with attention seeking hoes all over the place these days. And no I don’t work for Kimberly Clark haha (but I’m surprised they didn’t counter w/ that…)

  • Spastastic

    I’m so glad I use OB.

  • Kathleen

    This would be another reason for pads. I never liked tampons.
    And yes, I hear you all raving about cups, but at 40, with probably not a lot of period years left, I’m not switching. Maybe if I were 20.
    But at this point I’m starting to need pads for a different purpose if I am coughing or sneezing a lot anyway, so…

  • Pippa

    I agree with Yiraf. There could be a lot more to this story.