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Study finds metals, including lead and arsenic, in tampons

Sky Schaudt/KJZZ

A recent study found that there are traces of metals, including lead and arsenic, in 14 widely available tampon brands.

According to the study, between 52% and 86% of people who menstruate in the U.S. use tampons. But there hasn’t been a lot of information about the concentration of metals in tampons until now.

Dr. Sarah Trahan is a physician at the Sonoran University of Health Sciences in Tempe.

"We see in the cotton, in the substances, the natural and non natural substances that these things are made of, we're seeing arsenic, cadmium, all these things. And so it's the soil that these crops are in, it's the air that they're exposed to," Trahan said.

The study looked at only the tampons themselves, which means more research is needed.

"And so we need to find out how much of it we're absorbing whenever it's introduced to the vaginal space, because it's a highly vascularized area," Trahan said.

Researchers say their findings show that testing for metals should be required.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.