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Is it a bad diaper rash, or something more sinister? That is one of the questions that some angry parents are asking be litigated in the possible class action suit against Procter & Gamble (P&G) over the "Dry Max" technology in their new Pampers product. The company is equally red in the face over the suit, calling its claims "completely false."
According to the Christian Science Monitor, there have been two suits filed so far representing eight families, with plaintiffs seeking class action status from the court. The Seattle law firm who filed the suits was flooded with about 150 calls after announcing the filing to the press on Wednesday, May 12.
The suit is the progeny of a Facebook page for moms who believed the P&G diapers were responsible for rashes and even chemical burns on their babies' backsides. The Wall Street Journal reports that these claims have led to an inquiry by the CPSC as well as the lawsuits.
The Journal also notes that Procter & Gamble, whose Pampers brand makes up about $8.5 billion of the company's $79 billion in total revenue, is strongly defending its product. However, P&G is now in the uncomfortable position of either blaming their own customers, or their own product.
"Intensive safety assessments, clinical testing, and consumer testing before, during, and after the launch shows that Pampers Dry Max is safe," the company said in a statement. They also announced the astonishing news that rashes are commonplace, affecting more than 2.5 million babies at any given time.
The Dry Max technology, according to The Journal report, attempts to do more, with less. On the market since March, the company explains the new Pampers technology uses the same type of absorbent gel as the older version, but the gel is now printed onto the diaper rather than poured into a bulky pulp material, making the diaper 20% thinner. The reasoning goes that less diaper, less space used in a land fill.
New media and social media are playing an interesting role in the suit. Not only were a ground-swell of parent complaints organized on Facebook, but Procter & Gamble is also using online media to combat the bad PR. The company is speaking to about 50 "mommy bloggers" who sampled the new diapers before they launched, in an attempt to help staunch the flood of upset online parents.
Plaintiffs and their attorneys however, are not ready to turn the other cheek. "We've never seen an outcry like this," Gretchen Cappio, a partner in the firm of Keller Rohrback, told The Monitor. "These parents are trying to express that P&G should stop trying to deny the problem or, even worse, blaming the parent or caregiver."
Parents who want more information about the suit can contact the law firm by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Procter & Gamble has added more customer service representatives to allow for more time on the phone with consumers calling in with concerns about Pampers.