A tampon shortage is happening across America, and this is just another issue added to the already baby formula shortage. The brand Tampax, which is the country’s leading tampon manufacturer, has seen the worst of it.
Tampax attributes the shortage to a lack of raw materials used to make the product, such as cotton and plastic. Many had begun noting the lack of products early this June. In 2020 the United Nations data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS) found that 34.1 million women in the U.S. used tampons.
On average, women/girls use pads more than tampons. But there are some exceptions, for example, women in sports such as competitive swimming use tampons on a needed basis.
Homeless women also depend on shelters and aid resources for these products, and this shortage will negatively impact them.
The question is: Why not use pads? Well, for some women, it’s simple often, sanitary pads may be uncomfortable for some, and those with a heavier flow feel more at ease knowing there is less of a chance of leakage with tampons. But with the shortage, more tampon users will be forced to buy pads, which can potentially cause a lack of pads.
The truth is feminine hygiene products are expensive, and some people can't always afford to buy them constantly. The shortage could force some women to try to extend their tampon usage, which can come at a high risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). TSS is a life-threatening condition when bacteria enter the bloodstream, which may start as mild flu-like symptoms but becomes much worse and more intense as time progresses. It can occur when a tampon is worn for longer than the recommended use.
There has been outrage on social media, many women claiming it to be a “war on women” and debate on whether hygiene products should be free. An article by Harvard Health written by Huma Farid, M.D, mentions the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2019. Dr Farid writes, “There is no good reason why this bill, which would allow homeless people, incarcerated people, students, and federal employees free access to menstrual hygiene products, was never even brought forward for a vote.”
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