Proctor & Gamble says its Dry Max Pampers, less bulky but more absorbent than the previous design, are the biggest thing in diapers in 25 years. But on Facebook some moms have been blaming the diapers for rashes and "chemical burns" on their tots' tender bottoms, and the mainstream press has picked up the story.
P&G says the materials used in the diapers are nothing new and "cannot cause so-called chemical burns or other serious skin conditions." The company notes that at any given time, 250,000 babies will have a serious rash, and there's no evidence linking any of them to their product. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has only received a handful of complaints, but has opened an investigation which has served to draw more news coverage to the issue.
"While we're still waiting on the epidemiological data and the CPSC review, it has the initial markings of mass hysteria," says ACSH's Jeff Stier. "There's been very few complaints to the CPSC, but it spread very quickly, especially when others heard of it. Babies have had diaper rashes for a long time, and we don't see any spike in reports."
The blogger Junkscience Mom notes that over 2.2 billion Dry Max Pampers have already been used for diaper changes. "With that many diapers sold, I'd guess we'd have millions of complaints if there was a problem with them," she writes. "Something just isn't right."
"If your child is using Dry Max Pampers and doesn't have a problem, there's no reason to stop," says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. "If there is some problem with the new product, epidemiological investigation will detect it in the near future. I wouldn't change my behavior based on a Facebook campaign."