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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Rely Tampons

From the use of wool in ancient Rome to papyrus in ancient Egypt, women throughout history have used many different methods for managing their menstrual flow. This tampon is a sales sample of a modern-day tampon from c.1978 made by the company Rely just prior to the brand being removed from the market in 1980. The donor received this in the mail and held onto it for possible personal use. With the newly recognized medical illness, Toxic Shock Syndrom (TSS), however, and bad press surrounding tampons, the product remained unused in its package. By 1980, there were hundreds of reported cases of TSS and it was determined that there was a connection to the use of high-absorbency tampons. Products like Rely which could be left in longer promoted bacterial infection and a women's ph level also reacted with the material the tampon was made of, a polyester foam infused with a chemical called carboxymethylcellulose. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tightened regulations on tampons, TSS continues to be a health care concern for women. This significant artifact relates to an important topic in women's health care often not represented in museum collections.
circa 1978
Plastic, Paper, Polyester
1"" h 6 1/2"" w 6 3/4"" d
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Gift of Sandra Garland

Sandra Garland

Proctor And Gamble
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