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Popular Diaper Brand Takes Heat From Online Parents

Parents take to social media with claims of chemical burns, rashes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A rash of complaints have surfaced online against diaper giant Procter & Gamble. Angry parents say their babies are getting burns and blisters from Pampers Dry Max products. The government is investigating.

    Something in or on a new brand of diapers has parents nationwide riled up and the giant of the diaper world on defense.

    A Chicago-area dad initially presumed the unusual red bumps he saw on his baby's behind were nothing serious, but then started hearing rumors about a recall of the new diapers he'd been using: Pampers Dry Max brand.

    "So I jumped online and started doing a little, you know typing in 'recall,' and happened to see a lot of people talking about their problems with the Cruiser diapers and the Dry Max, specifically," Mike Miller told NBC Chicago. "I read some horrible things."

    Miller had landed where thousands of other parents have now turned: a Facebook page called "Pampers bring back the Old Cruisers/Swaddlers."

    There was no recall, but plenty of anger, and stories of "chemical burns" and bloody rashes parents said were caused by something in the new line of diapers that are marketed as being thinner and more environmentally friendly than other disposables.

    Pampers parent company Procter & Gamble says the complaints have no merit and that the language on the FB page is unnecessarily scaring parents.

    "I am concerned that a small group of online Facebook activists appear to be spreading sensational accusations and making unsubstantiated claims connecting a new diaper product to severe diaper rash," said Harvard Adjunct Associate Professor Kimberly Thompson in a statement dispatched by P&G to the media. "Using nonfactual and scary terms like 'chemical burns' that lead to emotional reactions, and based only on a relatively small number of personal experiences and no scientific data, the group appears to be creating an urban legend that has led some mainstream media to unfairly question the safety of Pampers Dry Max diapers."

    P&G says it thoroughly tested the new product on 20,000 babies and emphatically denies the product has caused any chemical burns.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission stepped into the fray after receiving "numerous" complaints. A CPSC spokesperson says it is too early to give a timeline on the agency's investigation. P&G points out that CPSC opens inquiries due to volume, not necessarily the merit of complaints.

    Is this a case of social media covering an issue, or creating one? Is this product causing harm, or is it just the product change causing stress?

    From these questions alone, the company is already suffering a loss.

    "We're done," Miller said. "We're switiching. That was it. I am not going to risk any pain for my child."

    At least two related lawsuits have now been filed.