Federal investigators in both the U.S. and Canada say that they have been unable to verify thousands of parents’ claims of diaper rash from Pampers Dry Max diapers.
In a joint statement released last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Health Canada said their investigations have not turned up any specific links between the new diaper design and what some parents have described as severe rashes that appear to be chemical burns. A number of complaints involving problems with Pampers Dry Max diapers led the agencies to launch an investigation earlier this year.
In March, Proctor & Gamble released new Pampers Swaddlers and Cruisers diapers using “Dry Max” technology. The diapers are thinner than previous Pampers. To date, the CPSC has received nearly 4,700 reports of Pampers Dry Max diaper rashes, with the vast majority of the reports filed in May, when concern about the diapers reached its peak on the internet.
Parents on social media sites and news websites (including this one) flooded comment sections with reports of children developing rashes described as painful, often puss-filled burns or blisters which they say occurred soon after switching to the new Dry Max diapers. However, Proctor & Gamble has maintained that the diaper rash outbreak was fabricated by a group of mothers using social media who preferred either the old style of Pampers or who were proponents of the use of cloth diapers.
On May 11, a Pampers diaper class action lawsuit was filed against P&G in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The claim seeks to force the company to reimburse parents who bought the diapers, pay for the treatment of skin ailments allegedly caused by the Pampers diapers and regularly test their products to ensure that they are not causing skin rashes or chemical burns.
According to the CPSC and Health Canada reports, investigators looked at clinical and toxicology data in peer-reviewed medical literature and performed technical evaluations on the characteristics, materials, and construction of the diapers as well as heat and moisture retention issues. They also looked at data submitted by P&G, including a human cumulative irritation patch study performed by the company.
“While the investigation thus far does not find a link between the diapers and the health complaints received, CPSC recognizes the serious concerns expressed by parents,” the agency’s press release states. “CPSC staff cannot rule out that there may exist 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.”
The CPSC recommended that parents who believe that their child’s diaper rash is related to a particular brand of diaper should stop using that diaper and see their pediatrician. The CPSC says it is still interested in parents’ reports of problems with Pampers Dry Max diapers or any other product and encouraged them to keep providing the agency with more data.