What happens when you flush a tampon and why is it so harmful?

Spoiler alert: it’s not good (Image: Getty)

Correct, Flush your tampons Going down the toilet is an attractive way to dispose of it.

You barely have to touch it or even look at it – just toss it in the toilet and flush will no longer be your problem. Or so you think.

We’re sorry to tell you that, no matter how easy it is, flushing your tampon down the vent is not a good idea.

What happens when you flush a tampon?

Tampons are designed to be very absorbent, which means they can expand significantly in the presence of liquids as they soak in.

They’re also designed to stay one piece while inside you for up to 8 hours, so they won’t break down into smaller pieces like toilet paper as they travel through your pipes.

As TampaxIts website says: ‘They won’t be an effective period care product if they break down too easily in the presence of liquids.’

So it’s not uncommon for tampons to expand in pipes and cause serious blockages or even flooding. Sure, flushing the tampon at the time might feel convenient, but if you end up with a spare toilet, things start to get a whole lot easier.

And it’s not just your sewers that you should be thinking about.

Tampons can and do contribute to blockages, which are made up of things like oils, greases and fats that are dumped down the drain and mixed with non-biodegradable items like wet towel, diapers and cotton swabs.

They can take weeks to clear and, if left unchecked, can disrupt a city’s entire sewage system.

Every year, Thames Water spends £18 million to free up 75,000 clogs from sewers in London and the Thames Valley.

A sewer technician is shoveling grease – isn’t it pretty? (Image: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Discarded tampons can also end up in a body of water where it doesn’t belong – if it doesn’t damage your septic system or get sucked into an iceberg first.

According to the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN), 6% of the average tampon is made of plastic, so many tampons don’t biodegrade and end up littering the oceans and beaches.

Above all, like Friends of Earth UK points out on their website, plastic breaks down into microplastics over time and WEN The fact sheet emphasizes that microplastics ‘wash harmful additives into the ocean while they break down while also acting like a sponge absorbing other harmful chemicals’.

Not great for any sea creatures that end up eating them, or humans in turn eating those sea creatures.

How to properly dispose of tampons

No exception, They need to take out the trash.

To prevent blood from spilling all over the bin, you can wrap the bin with something like toilet paper or a special biodegradable waste bag.

While many tampons are not biodegradable, you can buy a 100% cotton version, which means your little tampon won’t end up in a landfill decomposing into microplastics for years to come.

Alternatively, you can choose to reuse menstrual cup, its contents maybe was flushed without any problem.

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Tom Vazquez

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