The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has launched an investigation into Pampers diapers with Dry Max after some parents complained that the new Procter & Gamble Co diapers appear to be the cause of rashes and chemical burns on their children.
Pampers recently updated its Swaddlers and Cruisers diapers with a thinner, more absorbent technology in what the company has called its biggest diaper innovation in 25 years.
Several parents have said that their children developed diaper rashes and some claim to have seen chemical burns on their children after they started using the products, which P&G said went through extensive testing.
The staff of the CPSC is looking into complaints being made by parents and is in discussions with P&G about the product, said Scott Wolfson, the agency's director of public affairs.
P&G said it has shared its safety data with the agency and stands by its product.
"There's no evidence that a single baby has experienced a serious skin safety issue as a result of Dry Max," said Bryan McCleary, a spokesman for P&G's baby care division.
Every day, about 2.5 million babies in the United States have diaper rash. About 10 percent of those cases are severe, with deep red coloring, blisters and/or breaks in the skin, he said.
Many parents, including members of a Facebook group called "Pampers bring back the OLD CRUISERS/SWADDLERS," say they have seen similar issues with their children after using Pampers with Dry Max. They assert the problems started only when they used the new diapers and had not happened before with other diapers, including the old versions of Cruisers and Swaddlers.
The investigation is the latest issue related to a major brand that parents of young children are facing. Last week, Johnson & Johnson recalled Children's Tylenol and other products after an investigation of a manufacturing plant [ID:nN04255618].
AMONG PAMPERS' MOST SUCCESSFUL LAUNCHES
The updated, premium-priced diapers had their major debut in the United States in March, but Pampers also put some of the diapers into packages in 2009 without letting consumers know that the new products were included instead of the old versions.
McCleary said Pampers with Dry Max are among the most successful product introductions the brand has ever had and that the company is seeing a level of complaints in line with what it anticipated.
"It's one severe rash complaint for every 6 million diaper changes," McCleary said.
Pediatric dermatologists contacted by Pampers confirmed the company's findings that the product is as safe as the previous version. Among them are Dr. Loraine Stern, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine.
"I have seen absolutely no increase in rashes since the introduction of the newer model," Stern wrote in a statement provided to Reuters by Pampers. "The pictures on the Internet show what looks like classical rashes, not chemical burns. I have full confidence in recommending that my patients continue to use Pampers with Dry Max."
Still, many parents remain convinced that the new Pampers are the cause of their children's problems and have switched to other products, such as Kimberly-Clark Corp's Huggies. The Facebook group, which had about 1,000 members in mid-April, had nearly 3,700 members as of Wednesday afternoon.
Wolfson said parents with comments about the product are asked to contact the CPSC via its online incident report (here) or the toll-free number (800) 638-2772.