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Letters to the Editor Issue 67

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 67 - August 2001

Pharmaceutical Industry and Cancer

I read your article in the last issue of Positive Health with great pleasure and satisfaction. Many, many excellent points to be considered not only by the patients, but also by the doctors. However, I feel that it is also the general trend of the present superstructure which puts emphasis on areas which suit the infrastructure in more general terms. Also, pharmaceutical moguls have a role to play in manipulating the establishment. The big brother is very influential and that is also the problem.

However, your article is in my waiting room and we have also discussed it with one group of my students. It is well written as well! Congratulations! Please may we have some more of this.

Jolanta Basnyet
Principal, Lancashire Holistic College

Natural Cancer Treatment Scandals

I have just finished your article in July Positive Health, and felt compelled to e-mail to congratulate you on your campaign. I am an aromatherapist, and have only recently become aware of the scandal surrounding cancer treatment having attended a talk by Phillip Day, although I have long been aware of the tactics of pharmaceutical companies! I have also just read a book about the Bristol Cancer Centre, published in 1983 and am shocked to see that little has changed in 18 years.

Keep up the good work; the more people know about it the quicker things will change.

Audrey Larkins

Mary Martin Replies to A Wells (Issue 64)

I agree with the points raised by A Wells in the May issue of Positive Health. Years ago when I managed my own health food shop I witnessed how many common ailments were resolved by taking vitamin and mineral supplements and other natural remedies.

Working as a complementary practitioner has also made me aware of the serious nature of the side effects of some prescribed drugs. For example, there are the cases of two children who developed Chronic Juvenile Arthritis when they were eleven months and eighteen months old, respectively. The parents of one child refused steroid treatment at the outset. This resulted in the child being put on the 'at risk register'. Subsequently she responded very favourably to reflexology treatment.

The second child was given several courses of steroids between two and four years of age. She has permanent damage involving virtual blindness to one eye and fusing of her knees and ankle joints. For this reason her parents refused further steroid treatment, resulting in the Consultant telephoning the mother at home and threatening to take her to court. Subsequently this child responded extremely well to reflexology treatment. A fuller account will appear in the August issue of Positive Health.

A Wells states that the side effects of prescribed drugs is the fourth most common cause of death, and this does not take account of the patients who have been given a life sentence of disability. It is well known that the over-use of steroids causes serious side effects. It is interesting to note that the child who was not given steroids has no permanent disability, whereas the one who was given them is permanently affected. It is therefore a drastic measure to administer them to a two year old, but to continue with them when her condition worsened each time is inexcusable. She is now only eight years old.

Parents are legally obliged to provide medical care for their children, and complementary practitioners have to ensure they do not aid and abet parents who fail to do so.

Is it arrogance that motivates some doctors to threaten caring parents in the way they have? Is it intellectual pride that prevents them from acknowledging there are less invasive but effective methods of treatment?

Yours sincerely,
Mary Martin
Reflexology Practitioner

A Wells responds

It is important that people have access to natural medicines as well as orthodox. If the EU Directive, which is now being prepared, does restrict vitamins, minerals and eventually other health supplements, this would affect the UK more than many other countries. This is because people in many countries are prescribed natural remedies by their doctors. According to the Bioforce Herbs for Healthy Living booklet, in Germany alone 10 million prescriptions for the herb Gingko Biloba are written out by 10,000 doctors each year.

In the UK most GPs (with a few exceptions) have little or no knowledge or interest in complementary medicine. I understand that during all their years of training British doctors receive only a few hours instruction in nutrition. Yet good nutrition is vital to health.

If the EU does restrict vitamin supplements to the tiny almost useless Recommended Daily Allowances, then Britons would not be able to buy then in the strengths needed for optimum health nor be able to get them from their doctor. So we would lose out both ways.

Unfortunately, many medical doctors regard complementary medicine as a rival. Whereas they should take the best of both orthodox and complementary Medicine to help the patient.

Best Wishes
A Wells

Rumours and Myths about Tampons

I receive Positive Health every month so when this matter arose I thought I would forward it on to you.

There are a lot of emails going around about the 'dangers' of tampons. Personally I use the organic ones from the health shop but when my colleague received the email below she became very worried so I suggested she ask Tampax to answer the questions raised and their reply is below.

Michelle Willingale – Partminer UK

To: Ion Tampax-IM/PGI Is this true?

Tampons contain two things that are potentially harmful: Rayon (for absorbency), and dioxin (a chemical used in bleaching the products). The tampon industry is convinced that we, as women, need bleached white products in order to view the product as pure and clean. The problem here is that the dioxin produced in this bleaching process can lead to very harmful problems for a woman. Dioxin is potentially carcinogenic (cancer-associated) and is toxic to the immune and reproductive systems. It has also been linked to endometriosis and lower sperm counts for men, for both, it breaks down the immune system.

Last September the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that there really is no set 'acceptable' level of exposure to dioxin given that it is cumulative and slow to disintegrate. The real danger comes from repeated contact. I'd say using about 4-5 tampons a day, five days a month, for 38 menstruating years is 'repeated contact', wouldn't' you? Rayon contributes to the danger of tampons and dioxin because it is a highly absorbent substance. Therefore, when fibres from the tampons are left behind in the vagina (as it usually occurs), it creates a breeding ground for the dioxin. It also stays in a lot longer than it would with just cotton tampons. This is also the reason why TSS (toxic shock syndrome) occurs.

So, what can you do if you can't give up using tampons? Use tampons that are made from 100% cotton, and that are UNBLEACHED. Unfortunately, there are very, few companies that make these safe tampons. They are usually only found in health food stores. Countries all over the world Sweden, German, British Columbia, etc.) have demanded a switch to this safer tampon, while the US has decided to keep us in the dark about it.

In 1989, activists in England mounted a campaign against chlorine bleaching. Six weeks and 50,000 letters later, the makers of sanitary products switched to oxygen bleaching (one of the green methods available).


Misleading Rumours About Tampons

Recently, questions about tampon safety have been circulating on the Internet, prompting concerned tampon users to contact us. Below, Dr. Anne Hochwalt and Elaine Plummer, R.N., BSN, provide answers to your queries.

If you have additional questions you would like to see answered here, contact us. Or send this article to a friend.

Is rayon safe to use in tampons?

Yes. Much like cotton and other natural plant fibres, rayon is made from cellulose and has been used in Tampax tampons for more than 25years. Extensive testing by a number of leading scientists at Harvard, Dartmouth, University of Minnesota and the Centers for Disease Control has demonstrated that rayon and cotton are equally safe materials.

Do Tampax tampons contain dioxin?

No. The methods we use to analyze for dioxin are the most advanced government-approved testing methods available, and can detect even minute amounts of dioxin, if present. Tampax contains no dioxin.

Why is bleaching done on the raw materials used to make Tampax tampons? Is it done only to whiten the fibres?

Purification of the cellulose fibres used to make rayon and purification of cotton are done to eliminate the impurities which would inhibit our ability to make clean absorbent fibres. By cleaning the fibres in this manner, we can make a better performing product with fewer raw materials, which has clear benefits for the environment. Whitening the fibres is a result of this process, but not its goal.

Do Tampax tampons contain asbestos?

Absolutely not. There is no asbestos in Tampax tampons, nor has there ever been such a material in the product.

Can tampons cause endometriosis or cancer?

No. Tampon use is widely accepted by medical professionals for menstrual protection, and there is absolutely no scientific evidence that tampons lead to the development of endometriosis or cancer. We regularly review our tampon safety information with independent experts — physicians, nurses and other scientists — to help make sure Tampax remains a menstrual protection product that women can use with confidence.

For more information:

Visit the FDA's web page on tampon safety at:
Link to more FDA information about TSS. Link to references on elemental chlorine free (ECF) bleaching of wood pulp and rayon safety.


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