Hawaii women grapple with latest global supply chain hiccup: A shortage of tampons

First there was a nationwide shortage of baby formula. Now, it's tampons.
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 7:21 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 13, 2022 at 9:11 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Global supply chains are stumbling again.

This time, the shortage is in tampons — thanks in part to high costs for cotton and plastic.

Hawaii News Now checked several Oahu stores and found some empty shelves for tampons while there was enough supply of pads. One teen who uses tampons said she’s worried about the shortage.

“My menstrual cycle is something that I deal with every month. If I didn’t have those (tampons), I would feel really sick,” she said.

“I don’t like to feel dirty,” she added.

Women may not be able to find their preferred brand because of the shortage.

Sarah “Mili” Milianta-Laffin, a teacher at Ilima Intermediate, has feminine products for students in her classroom and hopes there’s enough supply when school starts back up in the fall.

She’s noticed gaps with certain products.

“Our Kapolei Target, the aisle are always beautifully zoned and the boxes are faced forward and you notice those holes a little bit more,” said Milianta-Laffin.

“I want to make sure my kids have what they need this school year to learn,” she added.

Ma’i Movement Hawai’i is a non-profit that’s trying to end period poverty and says prices of tampons and other feminine products are going up.

“One thing we saw for sure is a change in the prices,” said Nikki-Ann Yee, co-founder.

Manufacturers say the shortage is temporary, but offered no timeline.

This year, the Hawaii Legislature passed a bill to approve $2 million each year in period products to public and charter schools. The bill signing is Monday.

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