SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As inflation causes prices to rise and supply chain shortages make products harder to find, another item can be added to the list: Tampons.
Not only are the products harder to find on shelves, but Bloomberg found that the cost of pads is up 8.3% and the cost of tampons is up 9.8%. Procter & Gamble, the maker of Tampax and Always, is expecting prices on period products to rise even more in July due to supply chain issues.
While the current oil crisis may appear separate from the growing tampon shortage, University of South Dakota business professor Tom Martin said they may not be as isolated as they appear.
“They’re not unrelated because our world, our cultures, run off of petroleum,” Martin said. “Whether it’s the fuel that’s moving products or so many things contain plastic and where does plastic come from? Petroleum.”
Martin added that the supply chain crisis can’t be narrowed down to just one issue.
“People didn’t realize how complex a supply chain was, until it didn’t work,” Martin said.
When ports began to shut down due to COVID-19, there was very little coming to the ports, Martin explained. With the recent re-opening of China following another COVID-19 lockdown, Martin says we can expect to see an influx of product shipment to the U.S.
But once the products arrive to the United States, there’s the issue of unloading shipments and finding room for products.
“The warehouses on the West Coast, in California, are full. So, there’s no place to put those items when they get off the ship,” Martin said.
Martin said that at this time, he does not see inflation stopping anytime soon.
“Once it gets started, it’s really hard to get it stopped because wages start having pressure on them, and then that’s driving up other prices, and then, ‘Well if I have to pay more, I want more money,’ and so it becomes an endless cycle,” Martin said.
In addition to inflation, trucker shortages and general labor shortages, Martin added that people may want to be aware of dock workers in California who are in the middle of renegotiating their union contracts. The result of how those negotiations go could impact the supply chain further, Martin said.
Period products are already costly according to Pad Party co-founder Brienne Maner. Then, like other products, a 4.5% sales tax is added onto the cost. According to a study by U by Kotex in 2021, 2 in 5 people struggled to purchase period products. That’s an increase of 35% from 2018.
“Why are you taxing those products that are just as essential as toilet paper?” Maner said.
With the increased cost due to inflation, Maner suggests those who can afford it look into alternatives for menstruation such as Diva cups or period underwear.
“Think about some of those alternatives to tampons and pads that are scarce right now so you’re not hoarding products and those individuals that actually need them, can go buy them,” Maner said. “Sometimes they have to choose between their own health and putting food on the table for their families, which is devastating.”