Tampon shortage crisis hits the U.S. market

Demand for materials are at an all-time high due to their use in PPE facemasks and hospital gowns used in the pandemic.

Tampon shortages are the latest crisis to hit U.S. markets
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Supply shortage continues to worsen under President Biden’s rule. Even as Biden fails to tackle the baby formula shortage, yet another crisis has emerged. Now, women may soon be unable to find sanitary products at their grocery store.  

Reports of tampon shortage and feminine hygiene products are now circulating online, with numerous videos taken from the inside of grocery stores. These videos showed empty shelves where these products are usually stocked.  

According to a news report, which was published on social media, the brand that has become most difficult to find stocks of is Tampax. Its manufacturer Procter & Gamble released a statement acknowledging the shortage, stating that some consumers may be unable to find what they need. The company says that it is working with retailers on producing the high-demand product to meet market demands.  

Experts who spoke to the Washington Post say that inventory issues stem from the rising cost of cotton, rayon, and plastic. All of those are used in the Tampax brand of tampons and other female sanitary products.

Demand for materials are at an all-time high due to their use in PPE facemasks and hospital gowns used in the pandemic. Additionally, the cost of transportation is having a heavy impact on the retail stock.  

An expert who spoke to the Post said the cost of transportation for consumer goods has nearly tripled all the way from transporting shipping containers to local delivery. Port congestion caused by China’s COVID-19 policies has contributed to the shipping delays and costs, as have labor shortages in the United States.

Contrary to well-documented issues causing the tampon shortage, Insider blames Putin for the supply crisis, suggesting that the war on Ukraine has affected the supply of plastic and fertilizer needed to grow cotton – not mentioning the fact that demand for the materials used in the production of female hygiene products have never been higher.

Insider also added:

Experts say the shortage — and the impact it will have on people who menstruate, as well as the overall industry — is more complicated than that. 

The cost of supplies used to make tampons have risen over the past year. As Bloomberg reported, oil prices are about 70% higher than last year, leading to rising costs for the petroleum-based polymers needed for some tampons.

And just as Russia's invasion of Ukraine impacted the availability of plastics and absorbency materials needed for tampons, it impacted cotton. Both nations are major exporters of fertilizer, which is needed to grow cotton, CNN reported.

Some are now blaming Amy Schumer for the shortage, due to an ad campaign by Procter & Gamble featuring the comedian. A company spokesperson told CNN that increased demand for their products can be directly attributed to the success of the ads, which launched in July 2020.

Due to the shortage, the average cost of a box of tampons has increased by up to 10%, and retailers are shifting the excess cost onto customers.

Despite the problem, some publications like NPR continue to maintain that the lack of tampons are not merely a problem for women, but a problem for “people who menstruate.”

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