Procter & Gamble Diaper Complaints Can't be Verified, U.S. Government Says

U.S. regulators have been unable to to verify complaints that Procter & Gamble Co.’s Pampers diapers leave children with severe rashes, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said today.

Tests on Pampers Dry Max diapers, which were introduced this year, don’t indicate anything to explain severe rashes, the CPSC said in a statement. Consumers have described the rashes on their children as chemical burns.

“To date, the review has not identified any specific cause linking Dry Max diapers to diaper rash,” the regulator said in a joint statement with Health Canada. The U.S. and Canada “will continue to evaluate consumer complaints.”

The CPSC said in May that it would investigate reports that Pampers with Dry Max, the latest version of the brand, severely irritated some babies’ skin. P&G, which said Pampers generates $9 billion in annual revenue, has disputed the consumer reports.

About 85 percent of CPSC’s 4,700 complaints were received in May “and then dropped off significantly,” the agency said. U.S. media at the time reported comments about rashes and skin irritation posted to a social-network website.

The agency reviewed P&G data, chemical, toxicology and medical information from Health Canada, according to the statement. The CPSC said it couldn’t rule out “a health concern for some babies, especially those babies that may be sensitive and develop rashes or other skin problems as a result of contact with the materials in this or other products.”

Probe Continues

The CPSC said it will continue to investigate, and it encouraged concerned parents to stop using the diapers and talk to their pediatricians.

“We hope that today’s announcement will reassure the millions of moms and dads and child-caregivers who place their trust in Pampers and Dry Max every day,” Jodi Allen, P&G’s vice president for Pampers, said in a statement.

In an effort to make detailed information available on how to treat rashes and other skin conditions, Cincinnati-based P&G will help distribute American Academy of Pediatrics brochures, magazines and websites, Allen said.

Procter & Gamble denied that Dry Max Pampers caused rashes or burns in a May 6 statement. P&G expressed empathy for parents dealing with diaper rash, which it said is a common and sometimes severe condition.

A company investigation found “no evidence whatsoever” to substantiate the claims, which were being driven by rumors spread through social media, P&G said.

‘Rumors, Myth’

“These rumors are being perpetuated by a small number of parents, some of whom are unhappy that we replaced our older Cruisers and Swaddlers products while others support competitive products and the use of cloth diapers,” the company said. “Some have specifically sought to promote the myth that our product causes chemical burns.”

A Facebook group called “Pampers Bring Back the Old Cruisers/Swaddlers” that features complaints about rashes has 11,397 members as of today.

In May, two lawsuits seeking class-action status were filed in Ohio against P&G. The plaintiff parents said the company “knew or should have known that Pampers with Dry Max had the capacity to and, in many cases, did actually harm infants and toddlers by causing severe rashes, blisters, chemical burns, infections, and/or other ailments.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at jplungis@bloomberg.net.

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