of supply chain issues.

Reports of a scarcity of the menstrual product, used by millions of women in the U.S., have combined with general inflationary pressure on the price of goods to create cost and access barriers.

The Conversation asked Marni Sommer, an expert on public health and menstruation at Columbia University, what was causing the current shortage and how it has affected the plight of low-income women and adolescent girls who may already face barriers to sufficient, high-quality menstrual products.

What is behind the tampon shortage?
There are a couple of things at play here. First off, it appears tampons are another casualty of the supply chain problems that have been around since the beginning of the pandemic. But this has been compounded by a particular issue with the rising price of raw materials used in tampons: cotton, rayon, and plastic.

On top of this, there has been the impact of the recent lockdown in China on production worldwide, as well as general staffing issues at manufacturers in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the impact of inflation has hit menstrual products in general, and tampons in particular. Inflation trackers say the price of tampons has surged nearly 10% over the last year.

Does the shortage impact some women more than others?
It is a good question. Unfortunately, no one has studied how the current shortage is affecting different women—it is just too soon. But we are hearing from organizations that help women who traditionally have difficulty accessing menstrual products, such as those experiencing homelessness and lower-income women, that it is directly affecting them.

Read the full article about the tampon shortage by Marni Sommer at YES! Magazine.