KOKOMO — A central Indiana woman has a word of warning for other women after finding something strange on a feminine product she just recently purchased.
"It's really gross," Kimberly Fisher said after opening the package of her Tampax Pearl tampon and noticing the string was discolored.
"I thought that was odd so I go to look at the tip of it and I noticed that it was also a weird and dingy color and so I pushed it out of the applicator and it had nothing but black mold all over it," Fisher said.
Fisher said she bought the new box of tampons in Kokomo last week — two days before making the discovery. Fisher said she immediately became concerned wondering if other tampons she already used looked the same way.
"The fear of what could happen, the fear of did my last one have that and I did not know," she said.
Fisher said she hopes by sharing her story it will serve as a warning for other women and girls to check their tampons before using them.
"We need to spread awareness because this is something you never thought about," Fisher said. "I never thought the horror story of finding mold on a tampon."
Fisher shared her experience on Facebook in a post that has now gone viral with more than 32,000 shares.
Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Tampax, said they have completed a thorough manufacturing investigation and can assure consumers no issues were identified at that site or through the transportation process to the retailer.
Here is the full response from Cheri McMaster, associate director of communications, global feminine care for Procter & Gamble:
Thank you for reaching out with your questions, we appreciate the opportunity to respond. We want to assure you that nothing is of greater importance than the safety of those using our tampons and our products have been used safely by millions of women over the past 80 years. We have been in touch with the person who originally contacted us and we have been actively looking into the matter. How did this happen? We have completed a thorough manufacturing investigation and we can assure you that no issues were identified at our manufacturing site, nor through the transportation process to the retailer. We have state of the art quality and hygiene standards and test our products and monitor our quality systems continually before we put them in the marketplace. In this specific case, we can’t say conclusively how this happened as we haven’t received the sample to analyze. Has it happened before? There has never been a confirmed case of mold-related contamination in our manufacturing site. We have seen a few cases in the past where mold has developed on a tampon when it was exposed to unexpected conditions when soaked with water, for example when stored under a leaky pipe under a sink. As with all personal care products, feminine hygiene products should be stored in a clean and dry location both at the retailer and in the consumer’s home. Are any recalls being looked at? No, based on the results of our investigation to date, we do not believe a recall is warranted at this time. We want to reassure women that at Tampax, the quality and safety of our products is our number one priority and our products, made with the most stringent quality standards, are completely safe to use.
RTV6 reached out to a local physician to see what kind of impact mold or another foreign substance on a tampon could have on a woman's health.
"Most infection or bacteria that the vagina gets exposed to it can handle it on its own," Dr. Chemen Neal, a physician at IU Health, said. "So unless someone had an abnormal discharge or some other kind of symptoms I wouldn't worry too much about that."
Neal said bacteria forming on new tampons is rare but recommends storing them in a cool, dry place. She said tampons typically expire after five years.