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Thanks, supply chain. Now there’s a tampon shortage.

Heard on:
The supply chain woes have continued to the point where tampons are now being hard to find on store shelves.

Supply chain woes have continued to the point where tampons are hard to find on store shelves. Getty Images

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You can add tampons to the list of products made scarce by the supply chain crisis. They’re hard to find at many pharmacies and grocery stores around the country. 

The non-profit group I Support the Girls gathers donations of period products and sends them to groups in need – like homeless shelters and foster youth programs. 

But starting early this year, “we just have way less tampons, like, our inventory is so low,” said director Dana Marlowe, who said manufacturers and individuals have less product to donate. 

So when an organization requests a shipment of tampons, “we have to tell them we only have pads and liners as well as some of the reusable options. Folks are disappointed.”

The industry is being hit by the same supply chain snags and shipping bottlenecks and raw material shortages we’ve been hearing about for months – including limited supplies of cotton and rayon. 

Pricie Hanna, a consultant who specializes in hygiene products said demand has also increased. 

“Consumers stockpiling, retailers stockpiling. All you need is the suggestion of a shortage and everybody overdoes it,” Hanna said.

So if supplies have been dwindling for months, why are some of us just now hearing about it? 

Marni Sommer, a professor of public health at Columbia, has an idea. 

“People are taught from the first time they menstruate to manage it secretly and privately,” she said.

In other words, we’re not talking about this shortage as openly as, say, the toilet paper shortage. 

Sommer said those who have the means can hit multiple stores or search for their brand of tampons online. Low-income people are being hit the hardest. 

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