We take for granted that feminine hygiene products are actually…hygienic. And why wouldn’t we — tampons and pads come sealed and wrapped in enough layers that they seem practically sterile, right?

Not exactly. Add the story of Danielle Parr to your list of things to think about as you try to navigate the world working with the reproductive organs that God gave you. She accidentally pushed back the applicator to a Kotex tampon and discovered that it was covered in black and green mold. It’s scary enough that she would not have seen the mold had she not removed the applicator (which of course very few tampon users do), but even worse that her complaints to the company garnered only a semi-concerned response insisting the mold is not dangerous. Kimberly Clark, the company that manufactures Kotex tampons, told her:

“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.”

So this has happened before and the company insists that this tampon mold is like the mold found on old bread? Guess what? I don’t want that in my vagina either. Who cares if it’s not outright life-threatening, I refuse to believe that putting mold inside of my body is at all OK.

Kotex also sent Danielle Parr a bunch of coupons with which to buy more tampons, and she plans to individually check every tampon she uses from now on. Watch a news report explaining the incident with a doctor’s opinion that mold in the vagina is not only disgusting but generally not a good look.

What do you think of this story? Will it change your tampon usage?

  • omfg


    i recommend using ob or something similar without an applicator.

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    eww. that’s all I have to say

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    I lied…I just bought a whole box of tampons with applicators today…great.

  • pretty Cute

    One more reason to use the diva cup….

  • OSHH

    Just super ewwwwwww.
    I am a pad girl anyway, Kotex ultra thin longs are the truth.

  • The Taker

    *Gasps in utter horror*. Duuudeee, way gross. I just recently started using tampons a couple of moths ago because I could no longer take the feeling of feeling like Im wearing a diaper. Even though, I feel generally better in them, but I guess after this story, I will keep a stock of always ultra thins in place.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    the only thing that should be inside your v-vay is woola woola…..just use regular ol pads!

  • The Taker

    But everybody don’t like pads though. They can be really uncomfortable and annoying for some women(like me). Especially the real thick ones, they are nightmarish <<<<totally exaggerating but you get my point.

  • MsQuita

    OH NOOOOOOO!!!!!! I use pads and tampons depending on what is going on so it looks like I better stick with Always ultra thin…..

  • Blacgurlwatchin

    I love the Diva Cup. Every woman should try it!

  • Natalie

    argh!!! so so glad I don’t use tampons anymore!! will be telling my sister about this!

    I use a Lunette cup (not as long/wide/stiff as a Diva Cup) so I know how clean it is because I am the only one who cleans/touches it.

    tampons and pads are not actually sterile just covered in chemicals so they’ve still been handled by somebody elses (possibly unwashed!) hands/machinery…. eurgh.

    this could be fatal for someone with a mould allergy!! they say its like the mould on food but who eats mouldy food?! also the vagina is a mucous membrane absorbing chemicals like the mould/causing TSS whereas food mould would be unhealthy to eat but the bacteria would most likely be killed via digestive tract etc.

    the fact that this has happened before is shocking!! also Kotex are ‘sorry for your concern’ not sorry for the mouldy tampons….they are sorry she complained, for ‘her’ not their concern. Disgraceful.

  • mahogany

    i’m going to give it a try

  • iQgraphics

    I found a moldy panty liner in a new box before…
    all you pad users that think you’re safe, you’re not

  • lulu

    Divacup for the win!

  • http://guulo.wordpress.com Guulo

    Aww, you took away our sense of security! goosebumps seeing those pics. yikes.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    “It’s just like vegetable and bread mold!” Oh. I see. So you’d eat moldy food, and feed it to your children?

  • http://daniellenavonne.wordpress.com Danielle Navonne


  • The last laugh

    I hate Kimberly Clark and am not surprised at their response at all.

    I use OB. I’ve heard of the diva cup but not sure how it works….like it doesn’t spill out when you take it out?

  • naturalbeauti

    This is so disgusting….idgas what kind of mold it is I don’t want it in my vagina…thank God for the sponge, diva cup and organic pads…I would never use commercial products again, they cause cancer…do your research

  • omfg

    honestly, i’m amazed that women still use pads.

    i. just. can’t.

  • apple

    say what???! how does that happen -_-

  • c0c0puffz

    Aww man, I am on my period and really didn’t need to see this.

  • binks

    Agreed, pad users are much better investing in cloth reusable pads, the vlean up may be gross in the beginning but it out weighs the store brought pads in the long run. But the mokd is just gross

  • Dalili

    G.r.o.s.s!! Organic pads, always!

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @ The Taker,

    I’m always extra wid it, point taken!


    I’m from Africa, tampons are yet to hit the market.

  • http://1opinionatedwoman.blogspot.com/ Marsha S. Haneiph

    “Watch a news report explaining the incident with a doctor’s opinion that mold in the vagina is not only disgusting but generally not a good look.”

    Really? You don’t say! *gag gag*

  • Miss V

    Okay looks like its time to add an additional warning to the label right after the TSS one. It should read, “This product may contain Vegetable-like mold. Please inspect carefully becaue there have been reported cases.” Then Kimberly Clark should be honest and say, “We don’t care and Good Luck.”

  • http://clutch alexandria

    That is so nasty.I use kotex and I have never thought tht I wpuld have to check my tampom for mold :/ ewwww I just got off my period so tht makes me wonder. And were do u fine organic pads? I think tht mold on a tampon is gross seeing how we put them in our vaginas daily. I can’t believe this has happened on many occasions tht is plain gross. They think mold is ok for us wow! And how does tampons cause cancer? Gosh I wish we didn’t have periods

  • http://- fm

    pple dnt realise that not all pple can afford tampons, diva ccup let along tampons….today pple r I.I.I. nd its not only i who is in need…

  • apple

    how do you use a diva cup? can a virgin use it?

  • Em.

    *shudders* Thank goodness for my Meluna.

  • grateful

    @African mami

    um, i’m from Africa too and where i come from tampons are readily available (and purchased and used), even in the rural areas.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/TheBlackBot TheBlackBot

    It would be great if you shared which brand this was

  • http://changeyourtampon.com/ Emerita

    Gross! Use organic tampons instead… who know’s what’s in those other brands http://changeyourtampon.com/

    Organic tampons > Mold tampons

  • LightworkerGems

    I use the Keeper. Works great & I have used it for over a decade. the latex one is more comfortable than the silicone one. Years ago I heard tampons contain a substance that makes a woman bleed more…Didn’t sound good to me so I looked for alternatives.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @ grateful

    aiyaiyai! Joke much?!

  • http://www.Keeper.com 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.

  • Karyn Kane

    Glad my mom gave me a Keeper Cup rather than a tampon all those years ago.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    oh mi gosh!!! I have never ever in my entire life heard of this….thank you!!!! I’m researching about it. Great alternative…..

  • Sue

    @African Mami, you may have meant it as a joke but there are some people who’ll read it and think, oh, they don’t have tampons in Africa.

    This story just means people have to be more careful when using these products. Menstrual cups like the Diva Cup etc may not be for everyone, AND you still have to practice good hygiene when using it. This is easy at home but can be a challenge in a public bathroom or when travelling.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @ Sue,

    I’m not here to dispel myths for anybody. It should be the prerogative of those who think like that to make tampons shipments by the case load…… :)

  • http://guulo.wordpress.com/ Guulo

    I just googled it, are we talking about the plumbing looking type tool? yikes.tis we are all different

  • Timothy David

    Common molds that grow on produce, and bread. The problem here is that Penicillium is a common mold that grows on bread, and baked goods. It also produces penicillin which I (and millions of others) am allergic to. Just saying.

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