Videos On TikTok Claim Tampons Cause Cancer. Here's What You Need To Know

TikTok videos are spreading misinformation about an ingredient found in tampons, which some users say may cause cancer. In the now viral video that helped spark this widespread misinformation, TikTok user, Rachel Morgan, said that she learned about the supposed dangers of titanium dioxide in tampons after watching a TikTok video recommended to her (via New York Post). In the clip, a woman claimed to be experiencing health issues after using L. organic cotton tampons. "Now she's had two weeks' worth of excessive bleeding with extreme pain, ovarian cysts, and irreversible uterine damage," Morgan said in the TikTok video. She also claimed that the woman is now getting screened for cancer. "You know why? Because one of the ingredients on the back of her container is titanium dioxide, which, if you don't know, causes cancer," Morgan added.

The video has now amassed close to 8 million views since it was first posted, inspiring hundreds of others to make their own videos warning people about the purported dangers of titanium dioxide in tampons. However, experts say there's really nothing to worry about. According to physicians at Healthline, there is no evidence that titanium dioxide can cause cancer in humans through contact with tampons. "This misconception is a good example of pseudoscience, when something sounds plausible because of some grain of truth but misinterprets actual scientific evidence into something that is not true," medical toxicologist and assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Ryan Marino, told Healthline.

Titanium dioxide cannot be absorbed in the body by using tampons

While a 2013 study, in mice, suggests that nanoparticles of titanium dioxide may be carcinogenic and cause inflammation if ingested or inhaled in large quantities on a daily basis, this data is not directly applicable to humans. According to gynecologist Dr. Jennifer Gunter, titanium dioxide is not dangerous to humans, nor is it absorbed in the body through the use of tampons (via Gizmodo). That's because titanium dioxide doesn't dissolve in water.

"The nanoparticles aren't going to dissolve from the tampon string and get into the blood that might be pooling in the vagina and then get absorbed by the body," Gunter wrote on Substack. That means that there's no risk that the titanium dioxide in tampons will somehow leak into your body. It's also important to remember that correlation is not causation. Just because someone experienced side effects after using a certain product, like tampons, doesn't mean that their symptoms were necessarily caused by that product. That's why experts say it's crucial not to take medical advice from sensationalized viral videos and recommend talking to a medical professional instead.