P&G: ‘We don’t want consumers to be unnecessarily scared’

The company isn’t loudly responding to claims that its Tide detergent contains a harmful chemical because it doesn’t want to cause unnecessary panic, a spokesperson tells Ragan.com.

If you Google “Tide” and “1,4 dioxane,” you’ll find a Tide.com FAQ offering product information—but not before you’ve paged through a batch of news articles about assertions that the detergent contains potentially carcinogenic levels of the chemical.

The FAQ offers some context about that issue: “Someone would have to wash and wear over one thousand loads of laundry every day to even approach the upper limit of exposure for 1,4 dioxane.” It offers other relevant particulars as well.

So, why isn’t that information more prominent on the websites of the brand and its parent company, Procter & Gamble? According to some crisis communications experts, the company has erred by not being aggressive in responding to claims by Women’s Voices for the Earth, an environmental group.

Suzette Middleton, external relations manager at Procter & Gamble, says the company doesn’t “want to go out there and cause additional concern” in regard to what she calls a clear scare campaign.

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