IrRASHional Pampers Dry Max Scare

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced earlier this month that they could not find a causal relationship between Pampers Dry Max, a thinner absorbent gel material, and diaper rash. Many parents had blamed Proctor & Gamble’s newest diaper upgrade for their infant’s rashes, but after reviewing 4,700 complaints and extensively examining the materials in the diaper, the CPSC found no reason to blame the product. ACSH's Jeff Stier predicted this earlier this year in a blog post for SavvyAuntie:

Some people seem to be upset with the manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble, for a grab-bag of reasons unrelated to any (non-existent) rashes. The speed at which people have become upset, without any medical reason to justify such concerns, is reminiscent of other cases of something called "mass hysteria," a psychological phenomenon.

Mass hysteria often explains scenarios when there's no biological basis for an alleged effect, the symptoms are ambiguous, and it spreads only after others hear about it. In this case, it may even be that the people who started a Facebook group about the issue actually sought to spread the scare. With parents of babies as their target, creating jitters wasn't a terribly difficult task!

Stier says that this issue “speaks to how the social media can push a scare these says. These scares have evolved over the years. With mommy bloggers and Facebook groups becoming more popular, we have to be more active in the blogosphere to counteract baseless scares.”