Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Re : the overwhelming response to the moldy tampon.

I feel I need to clear a few things up because this thing has gotten way, way more exposure than I ever thought imaginable. When I discovered the tampon, I was disturbed. I showed my husband right away and emailed Kotex including the pictures posted here. I shared the picture with some friends online and they were horrified and encouraged me to post about it on Facebook. I decided to blog about it and share the link and did so shortly afterward.

Unbeknownst to me, this thing took off. Like wildfire. I have come under a lot of scrutiny this evening, people even going so far as to insinuate that it looks like Sharpie. Really? WHY would I do something like that? Of course I wanted people to read about this, but I did not fabricate the story just to do so. I shared what happened because it's gross. It concerns me. And it seems like it concerns a lot of you, too. Several people have messaged me and told me they have found similar Kotex tampons as well. This is not an isolated incident!

If I were going to do something of that nature, believe me, I would have chosen something other than a tampon. I'm the type of girl that checks out the cash registers and tries to find the one with a female cashier when I'm purchasing feminine hygiene products. It's not something I'm overly vocal about and I seriously hesitated to post about this at all. However, I was grossed out enough by my find that I decided it was worth it. For those asking where the tampons were stored, they were stored under my bathroom sink. We did not have a leak of any kind and I just purchased the tampons about 3-4 weeks ago so they are not a product I've had sitting in my home for months or years on end.

Why did I contact the news? Because everyone pleaded with me to do so! Never in a hundred million years did I expect to actually get a response. I wouldn't have even contacted the news if people hadn't mentioned it. Seriously! I only watch one news station here, so I  decided to contact them. They responded fairly quickly and sent three guys to my house to do an interview. I almost declined because I am painfully shy and this is not something I would generally talk about at all, nonetheless the 10 o'clock news! Especially with three men conducting the interview! Yes, it's an embarrassing topic and I am definitely a little bashful that all of this has happened over a tampon. I'm just a simple little blogger and never would have imagined something like this would unfold in one day. I've had this blog for over two years, and until today, I had only 26,000  views total. Approximately 2-3k views per month. I couldn't have imagined it would take off like this. It's the power of social media and women everywhere are grossed out, myself included. I did email the link and pictures to Dr. Oz as well. I have not been contacted by him, nor do I expect to hear back from him. People kept throwing out tons of suggestions of who to contact and he seemed like the best suggestion of the 'big dogs'. EDITED TO ADD: I did send the tampon with the news station to have sent in for independent testing. They urged me to go this route, along with many friends and people commenting on my blog, in order to ensure it is properly tested and not done by Kotex themselves. I don't have a clue what the black-ish substance on that tampon is but I hope we find out. To me, it looks like mold. I have no way of knowing if that's what it is but based off the response Kotex provided me with earlier, it sounds plausible considering they've obviously addressed this issue with customers before.

I did go ahead and open the rest of the package that I had. They were all fine. I took a picture to verify that they were, in fact, mold-free. All but one  :



I just checked my email and Kotex has finally contacted me again. It seems they are taking it a little more seriously now. This is their newest letter to me:

 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 Betty’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
1-800-789-4495 and ask for Shelley, 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.



Shelley

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

016750187B




I am glad they have contacted me and I look forward to speaking with them about this issue tomorrow.  I know that errors in manufacturing can happen and I understand that completely! I, like so many others, found their initial response a little concerning and dismissive. I am glad they intend to investigate the issue further. I am hoping they can come up with a way to prevent this from happening again. Perhaps a clear applicator? That seems like it would be a simple enough solution. I don't know, I'm not the tampon-professional, I'm just a concerned woman trying to let people know to pay better attention to these things. I know I'll pay a lot closer attention from now on!

And as for those questioning why I suddenly have turned on the comment moderation? "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all." This is my own personal blog and I shouldn't have to allow excessive comments attacking my faith or my character.  I was just trying to make women aware of what could be lurking under the applicator of their tampons. That's it. And I assure you, I am not a fly-by-night tampon decorator. I like Sharpies as much as the next guy, but I'm not gonna doodle on a tampon and pass it off as mold to get a few blog views.

46 comments:

Deserae said...

Danielle--for goodness sake! I can't believe you even have to explain yourself. You did the right thing and you are not doing anything you need to feel badly about. The health of people is at stake & the word needs to get out!
HUGS and love--Deserae

Gray Sea said...

Well said, Danielle. I stand behind you! I am glad Kotex is taking this more seriously. I think it was meant for you to see this tampon! I am glad you caught it, before using it. Now I will always wonder if I have ever gotten a bad tampon? Also...sitting here watching your blog count go non-stop is oustanding!

Gray Sea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth said...

DO NOT Mail it to them! Seriously. They will keep it and make up a story about it being a truly harmless whatever regardless of what it is. I would have an independent lab test it.

Anonymous said...

We all thank you for sharing that info with us. People need to know! And Kotex needs to change their procedures to keep it from happening again.

Now, go order yourself a Diva Cup. Pronto!

tigagonzalez said...

I agree with not mailing it! They'll just brush it off like it was nothing!

Anonymous said...

Danielle i am very thankful that you posted this because it could seriously save someone... i have alerted my friends and shared your blog because someone could get sick from using a contaminated product... if people knew u they would never make ignorant comments

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just found this: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm279588.htm Do you think it could have been one of the recalled boxes?

Sam said...

Maybe cut it in half and only send them part of it to test, keeping the rest to have independantly tested if need be.
Ya done good, kid!

Willow said...

I am so sorry people have attacked you Danielle. I totally believed you.

I think you did the right thing. And I agree with the poster who asked about having an independent lab test it. I would demand that they pay to have it tested at an independent lab..

And sweetie, turn off your computer, snuggle up with your hubby and baby and get some rest. <3

Internet drama can be so crazy.. This whole thing was God protecting you from whatever was on that tampon.

Im off our meeting place for lent, but have been following it all day. <3

**TenderLovingWillow**

krgarcia1222 said...

Thank you for posting! I have 3 sisters and girlfriends and it is a scary thought, get a moldy tampon. I hope KC can resolve the issue in an effective manner. Thank you again!!

TarotLadyLissa said...

Danielle, you have every right to tell whomever you want about this horrible experience. I too think every woman should know that there is a potential for their personal hygiene products to be contaminated! You did the right thing and you have no need to explain yourself. I posted your story on my blog in the hopes that more women would read your story!

Kristin said...

Well, I am sorry that people have stooped to harassing you over this. I can say with the utmost certainty that you would NEVER, NEVER choose a *tampon* to be the focal point of anything. But that said, I'm going to giggle for days at the notion of you + Sharpie + tampon. ;) The news story sounded great, by the way - and I'm glad they got Pip in there too!

Crystal Scott said...

I commend you for going to the news and posting it. You are brave and don't deserve to be treated badly. You have the right to let women know. What if you would've used it and gotten sick. I'm so disturbed by this as I used to use tampons!

Camoprincess1986 said...

Newest Follower :)
Hope to see you over on my blog
http://acountrygirlcan.blogspot.com/

As for the moldy tampon that is just NASTY and very scary what would happen if you didn't push apart of the tampon out by accident? WOW sorry you had to go through this

Codi said...

I cannot believe people would think you would sharpie a tampon to what??? Get a few hits on your blog? Psh..silliness. You can't make this stuff up people.

Im so thankful you shared your story. I know lots of other women who are switching brands now because of this to a brand that has no applicator so they can more easily see the whole tampon.

I cringe to think about how many women have used a moldy tampon and not know.

You did a good thing today by sharing your story. THANK YOU!

<3 Codi

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you brought this to the average consumers attention. I am deathly allergic to some types of mold. Convulsions and hospitalizations included. Had this not been brought to my attention. My next tampon may have been my last x(

Anonymous said...

I just want you to see what people have been posting about your story and solutions here:
http://www.facebook.com/Lunapads

Even if you feel a little uncomfortable talking about menstruation, I think it's worth a look into reusables and offering that as an alternative to any of your readers that want an alternative to tampons other than disposable pads! Everyone should give it a chance at least once.

Brynn said...

Haha! Doodle on a tampon! I love it! :)

Sandie Elsom said...

I feel a bit sorry for Betty.

Team Howerton said...

Oh Danielle, so sorry for the negativity connected! Clearly those individuals don't know you! Your story was a necessary & I applaud your blog and contacting the news! WOMEN NEED & DESERVE to know! I will surely be more careful with feminine products going forward. Ew! There has to be accountability and like you mentioned, not an isolated incident. Hang in there friend! There's a reason the news crew came right out...people want to know! Big hugs! Oh and Piper's dress sure did look cute! hehe.

Ceciley said...

Even if you did sharpie it on, Kotex ADMITTED this isn't the first time this has happened! Keep us posted!

Melissa said...

I was shocked to see that this has gone so viral, actually! I first saw link to your blog post on Wee Essentials's Facebook page... since then probably five other places. I know how shy you are so I was surprised you agreed to an interview on the news. :) I in no way think you'd make up such a thing! I say keep on moderating or better yet, turn off comments! You know how b*tchy people can get on the internet... no need to expose yourself to people's uninformed comments about you.

Kelly said...

I switched from tampons to a silicone menstrual cup (DivaCup) a year and a half ago. I'm not shocked this has gone viral. We need more information about women's hygiene needs. Your post started a great conversation! Thank you!

Kelly said...

I switched from tampons to a silicone menstrual cup (DivaCup) a year and a half ago. I'm not shocked this has gone viral. We need more information about women's hygiene needs. Your post started a great conversation! Thank you!

Kelly said...

I switched from tampons to a silicone menstrual cup (DivaCup) a year and a half ago. I'm not shocked this has gone viral. We need more information about women's hygiene needs. Your post started a great conversation! Thank you!

Shelbsie said...

oh my word....people are seriously trouble if the best thing they can do is try to blame you for faking this...you're just trying to protect other women, and i'm totally behind you...and I deff think you should mention the clear applicator...i think that's a GREAT idea

Mama Nibbles said...

eww I have seen similar but I just threw it away and assumed it was my damp house...I am so grossed out that Kotex would just send coupons and go about their happy day without a care! Glad they are doing something about it.

HLJIzme said...

I don't believe for a minute that Kotex really cares, what their second email sounds like is, "Oh crap, we need to backpedal and cover up" not, "We were just trying to respond quickly". I agree, do NOT send that thing to them; though you said you sent it with the TV people, right?

So gross. I'll give another shout out to a DivaCup, I've been using one for years now.

Seldom Seen Acres said...

I have not had a chance to read through all of you comments but I want to add that just because there are no visible signs of mold on the other tampons in the package it doesn't mean they do not have mold spores that just haven't developed enough for you to see.
I'm glad you decided to have it sent to a lab other then have Kotex send it in. At least this way you will find out what it really is.

Phia said...

Thank you for posting about the moldy tampon on your blog. I'm glad this went viral or else I would have never known or even fathomed such a thing could happen. This is very disturbing especially due to the sensitive nature of the product. This is making me reconsider my menstrual products.

To people judging her moral character and religious beliefs: kick rocks!! She was trying to inform and educate us about the products we are putting inside our bodies. Be thankful! I know I am!

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

This is kind of funny how viral it has gone. I'm glad you posted that though. ;) BTW I came accross it on Pinterest.

Jaime Calder said...

I am incredibly grateful that you have shared this - both the original story & the follow-up post. Please know that I think providing this information & standing by it is a tremendously brave & just thing to do, & that even though we've never met, I'm proud of you.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this happened after it left their warehouse.
Probably happened while in storage in some wet, hot warehouse. Moisture and heat = mold. Unfortunately, these things happen!!!

ElizaDay418 said...

even if it is "harmless mold", as my dear friend spencer so eloquently stated, "by that reasoning, its ok to sleep with an avocado in your yaya. she should sue."

you tampon doodler, you. ;)

nycwhofan said...

Kotex Security Super Plus tampons were my pre-menopausal preference. I'm very glad and grateful that you posted about this. I'm even gladder that you did not send Kotex the tampon because they could have "lost" it or falsified/downplayed the results. Kotex may say the mold is harmless, but I still can't imagine any woman knowingly inserting such a "harmless" thing inside their bodies. For those women not willing/able to switch to Diva Cups or o.b. tampons, clear applicators should become the norm.

The first response was a classic corporatespeak not-really-an-apology apology. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

hello : ) i just wanted to say that i'm glad that you posted this in an effort to save other women from harmful health issues. i have to say i am very concerned about this b/c kotex has been the only brand of any feminine products that i can use. thus far, i have had allergic reactions to any and all products, i.e always, o.b., ect. on the market since i was 12 yrs old. i am very curious to know what these 'diva cups' are that alot of your readers are mentioning in their commentaries. i have never heard of them...

Michelle H. said...

I'm afraid their fix will be bleaching tampons even more. Poor, poor vaginas.

Michelle H. said...

I'm afraid their fix will be bleaching tampons even more. Poor, poor vaginae.

You really should consider a menstrual cup. You clean them yourself and if it somehow becomes moldy you have no one to blame but yourself.

LB said...

Danielle,

I work in Public Relations (Healthcare PR specifically). Please know that Kimberly Clark is going to do everything they can to quiet you first and foremost. The very first need they have is to stop the message from getting out any further than it already has. Keep this in mind when dealing with them no matter how nice they appear to be treating/accomodating you. Their number one goal is to stop you from damaging their brand further. My advice to you: keep sharing your message. Because you weren't "harmed" while using their product (unless it's assumed you may have come into contact with a previously moldy product of theirs), they won't be concerned with your well-being so much as their reputation. Do not sign anything and do not allow them to silence you UNTIL and UNLESS you see them making tangible changes to their product line to prevent this from happening in the future.

As for the moldy tampon itself (and this is important): DO NOT HAND OVER THE TAMPON -- YET. There are independent and very reputable labs specializing in mold/black mold. I would first start with contacting the largest hospital in your area, though. Ask to speak with the lab director/manager and ask him/her where you might get a home/healthcare product tested for a type of black mold. Tell them it's urgent and hopefully, they will direct you. Do this ASAP. Also, it's very important that when you contact the lab you're being referred to, that you specify the item being tested needs to be returned to you WITH any/all lab results. If you'd like to contact me, just leave a follow up message to this with your information and I'll be happy to do so. I'd be happy to give you some advice quietly and pro bono, of course.

Good luck!

L.

Renee said...

Oh, dear. I'm glad you brought this to everyone's attention, but I'm so sorry you're under such fire. You do not deserve any ridicule for performing your civic duty. And I do hope you'll give a menstrual cup a try so you never have to worry about this again.

Stacey said...

Betty sent the wrong information? What did she make it up? That's a crock, way to back track and throw someone under the bus. I think this company needs to think before they respond to customer concerns. This could have and should have been handled differently. Thank you for bringing this to everyone's attention, I know I will pay more attention to what I am putting in my body now!

Juno said...

Listen to LB! I implore you! - Juno

Rachel E. said...

Hi. I'm a big fan of the Divacup, which has been mentioned a few times. It is excellent!

It is a silicone cup that catches menstrual fluid and is emptied out, washed and reinserted. It is a great product to check out from health, cost, and environmental impact perspectives.

Website: http://www.divacup.com/

OrganicMama said...

Looks pretty legit to me. I haven't used tampons in years because I think there are better options. Thanks for writing about this.

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