We’ve talked about the formula shortage that has been impacting families with infants and toddlers across the country. Now, tampons are the latest product getting more expensive and increasingly harder to find.
As Bloomberg reported, Nielsen data shows that the price of menstrual pads went up over 8 percent, and the price of tampons increased nearly 10 percent in the year through the end of May. And while inflation is impacting nearly everything we consume, from gas to gallons of milk, menstrual hygiene products aren’t something women can just live without.
Dana Marlowe, the founder of I Support the Girls, an organization that supplies bras and menstrual hygiene products to women in need, has noticed that the supply issues have impacted their ability to help. “What’s been going on for a couple months is that organizations call us up and say, ‘we need tampons,’ and we go to our warehouse, and there’s nothing there,” she told Time.
When trying to pinpoint the exact cause of the shortage, fingers have been pointed in every direction. There was, of course the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused people to stock up on everything from toilet paper to tampons. Then there was Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) ridiculous June 13 claim that the shortage is due to the need to place tampons in men’s bathrooms to make them accessible to transgender people. And even Amy Schumer, whose July 2020 Tampax campaign caused a nearly 8 percent increase in demand for the brand over the past two years, has been hit with some of the blame.
But the real issue can be traced back to an increase in the cost of cotton and plastic used to produce tampons. These materials, also used for masks and other medical supplies, have been in particularly high demand since the pandemic. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has added another challenging layer to the problem, as both countries are key exporters of the materials.
While all of the finger pointing continues, women, particularly those in disadvantaged communities, are being hit hardest. Opportunistic Amazon sellers have been cashing in on the tampon shortage. In January, one box of 18 Tampax listed for $114, nearly six dollars more per tampon than the regular price, according to a report from Time.
Time also noted that one in four women is currently living through period poverty, meaning they face economic barriers that prevent them from accessing the supplies they need during their periods. The number has increased from one in five before the pandemic. Maybe if MTG used her voice to bring attention to the supply chain issues, instead of whining about transgender people, we could find a real solution to the problem.