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An Investigation on the Disappearance of Tampons

When walking into a supermarket, one would expect to see long aisles filled to the brim with every product imaginable. Recently, however, there’s one section that seems to be getting more and more desolate. The period care section. 

Our local grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations have become period product deserts across the country. Somehow period cramps, hunger, fatigue, and constipation are no longer the main worries when that time of the month rolls around. We as women now have to be hunters on the lookout for a basic human need. 

How did this happen? Did all the world’s most notorious thieves band together and decide tampons had to go? Did every American woman’s collective blood flow increase tenfold? How is it that we are being deprived of a necessity?

The true culprit is cotton. The world is experiencing a massive cotton and paper production crisis. And since our favorite feminine hygiene products are mostly cotton, they too are suffering. The lack of cotton not only is making it hard to gather the raw materials needed, but is also causing a backlash in the supply chain. This means it’s taking longer to produce the same amount of products as before and even longer to get those products onto the shelves. 

Eventually, similarly with other shortages, this problem will sort itself out. However, it is merely a part of a larger trend with global consequences. The cotton shortage was caused by a drought. This drought is a direct effect of climate change. Over the past few years, the Earth’s temperature has risen leading to an intensification of climatic conditions, including the amplification of natural disasters and droughts. Droughts are becoming more frequent, longer, and more severe and because of this resources that we rely on, like cotton, are experiencing shortages.

So what are women devoid of feminine care to do? We could cross our fingers that our period is delayed until the shortage is over, but that seems hardly healthy. We could be adventurous and try diva cups. I personally have never used one. I know they involve boiling and if I’m being honest, the only things I boil are ramen noodles. However, if you don’t want to compromise your needs or period routine the best solution is to start using all natural cotton alternative period products. Hemp based products, for example, are sustainable and restorative meaning they aren’t affected by the shortage and actually benefit the environment. It’s a two for one. You get the same quality of care, while helping to prevent the very thing that caused this problem in the first place!

With love,

Taylor Ireland