Home Hoaxes Swiffer Wetjet Pet Death Email Rumour

Swiffer Wetjet Pet Death Email Rumour

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email forward claims that household pets have died as a result of licking floors cleaned with the Swiffer Wetjet cleaning system (Full commentary below).


Status:
False

Example:
Wet Jet and the danger they causeJust in case you have pets or small children around.This is scary…

I recently had a neighbor who had to have their 5-year old German Shepherd dog put down due to liver failure. The dog was completely healthy until a few weeks ago, so they had a necropsy done to see what the cause was. The liver levels were unbelievable, as if the dog had ingested poison of some kind. The dog is kept inside, and when he’s outside, someone’s with him, so the idea of him getting into something unknown was hard to believe.My neighbor started going through all the items in the house. When he got to the Swiffer Wetjet, he noticed, in very tiny print, a warning which stated may be harmful to small children and animals.” He called the company to ask what the contents of the cleaning agent are and was astounded to find out that antifreeze is one of the ingredients. ( Actually he was told it’s a compound which is one molecule away from antifreeze.) Therefore, just by the dog walking on the floor cleaned with the solution, then licking it’s own paws, it ingested enough of the solution to destroy its liver.

Soon after his dog’s death, his housekeepers’ two cats also died of liver failure. They both used the Swiffer Wetjet for quick cleanups on their floors. Necropsies weren’t done on the cats, so they couldn’t file a lawsuit, but he asked that we spread the word to as many others as possible so that they don t lose their animals. This is equally harmful to babies and small children that play on the floor a lot and put their fingers in their mouths a lot.

PLEASE, EVEN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE BABIES, SMALL CHILDREN OR OWN A PET PLEASE FORWARD THIS ON!



Detailed Analysis:
The claims in the above email rumour are completely untrue. Swiffer Wetjet does not contain anti-freeze or any similar substance that could cause liver failure in animals nor are there any credible reports of pets being put down as a result of licking residue from the product. Veterinary toxicologists at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center have examined the ingredients of the Swiffer Wet Jet system in response to this rumour and found that it was safe to use around animals. According to a 2004 Press Release on the ASPCA website:

The Swiffer Wet Jet system contains water (90-100%), propylene glycol n-propyl ether or propylene glycol n-butyl ether and isopropyl alcohol (1-4%). These ingredients are safe to use around pets when used according to label directions and would not cause liver damage at product concentrations. Propylene glycol n-butyl/propyl ether differs significantly from ethylene glycol, the potentially toxic ingredient present in most antifreeze products. Ethylene glycol is frequently implicated in causing renal failure in dogs following antifreeze ingestion. Propylene glycol n-propyl ether and propylene glycol n-butyl ether are very safe ingredients at levels used in cleaning products and do not cause kidney or liver failure.

A safety warning in the Swiffer Wetjet users guide does advise uses to keep the product out of reach of children and pets. However, such warnings are present on many cleaning products and do not in any way imply that animals (or children) could be harmed by licking residue left after use. Also, the company has the following information in the” Questions and Answers” section of its website:

Question
Is Swiffer safe for animals? What if my pet licks the floor?

Answer
Great news for you and your pets! Swiffer Wet and Swiffer WetJet are specially designed to not leave a residue on the floor, so there’s no need to rinse. We suggest you make sure the floor is completely dry before letting your pet walk on it, though, because wet floors can be slippery. Since there isn’t a residue, there are no problems if your pet licks the floor.

No more worrying about the owner of those muddy paw prints. You can enjoy the convenience of our Swiffer products without any worries for your pet’s safety.

 

Furthermore, the company has responded to this email rumour by posting the following information on its website:

Swiffer pet rumor

Question
Are the ingredients safe?

Answer
We’re glad you came to us for the facts about Swiffer WetJet. All our products have been evaluated by internal and external veterinarians and scientists, and Swiffer WetJet and Swiffer Wet cloths are safe to use around pets. Let us assure you, this rumor is completely false. Our Wet cloths and WetJet liquid solution cleaners do not contain antifreeze or any ingredient similar to it.

We have pets too and their health is very important to us. We hope you’ll help us put an end to this rumor by letting others know the truth.

Like similar emailed “warnings”, the message lacks credibility in that it does not include names, places, or indeed, any way of verifying its spurious claims. If dogs and cats were really dying as a result of this product, it is safe to assume that the information would be included in legitimate news articles and the relevant health authorities would be investigating the matter thoroughly.

False warning messages of this nature waste bandwidth, spread misinformation and cause unnecessary alarm among recipients. If you receive this message, please inform the sender that the information is untrue and do not forward it to others.

References:
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Responds to Swiffer Wet Jet Rumor

2005 version of the hoax:

Subject: Warning for your animal’s health

A writer’s neighbor had their 5-year old German shepherd dog put down due to liver failure. The dog was completely healthy until a few weeks ago. They had a necropsy done to see what the cause was. The liver levels were unbelievable, as if the dog had ingested poison of some kind.

The dog is kept inside, and when he’s outside, someone’s with him, so the idea of him getting into something unknown was hard to believe.

The neighbor started going through all the items in the house. When he got to the Swiffer Wetjet, he noticed, in very tiny print, a warning which stated “may be harmful to small children and animals.

He called the company to ask what the contents of the cleaning agent are and was astounded to find out that antifreeze is one of the ingredients.

(Actually he was told it’s a compound which is one molecule away from antifreeze).

Therefore, just by the dog walking on the floor cleaned with the solution, then licking its own paws, it ingested enough of the solution to destroy its liver.

Soon after his dog’s death, his housekeepers’ two cats also died of liver failure. They both used the Swiffer Wetjet for quick cleanups on their floors.

Necropsies were not done on the cats, so they could not file a lawsuit, but he asked that we spread the word to as many people as possible. EVEN IF YOU DO NOT OWN A PET- PLEASE FORWARD THIS ON!

2004 versions of the hoax:

Subject: Warning for your animal’s health–

I recently had a neighbor who had to have their 5-year old German Shepherd dog put down due to liver failure. The dog was completely healthy until a few weeks ago, so they had a necropsy done to see what the cause was. The liver levels were unbelievable, as if the dog had ingested poison of some kind. The dog is kept inside, and when he’s outside, someone’s with him, so the idea of him getting into something unknown was hard to believe. My neighbor started going through all the items in the house. When he got to the Swiffer Wetjet, he noticed, in very tiny print, a warning which stated “may be harmful to small children and animals.” He called the company to ask what the contents of the cleaning agent are and was astounded to find out that anitfreeze is one of the ingredients. (actually he was told it’s a compound which is one molecule away from anitfreeze). Therefore, just by the dog walking on the floor cleaned with the solution, then licking it’s own paws, and the dog eating from its dishes which were kept on the kitchen floor cleaned with this product, it ingested enough of the solution to destroy its liver. Soon after his dog’s death, his housekeepers’ two cats also died of liver failure. They both used the Swiffer Wetjet for quick cleanups on their floors. Necropsies weren’t done on the cats, so they couldn’t file a lawsuit, but he asked that we spread the word to as many people as possible so they don’t lose their animals.

PACO HAD RECEIVED A LETTER RECENTLY ABOUT A PRODUCT THAT MAY POSSIBLY HARMFUL TO HIM AND HIS FRIENDS . IT IS CALLED SWIFFER WET . A PRODUCT THAT MANY MAY BE USING IN THERE HOMES.SWIFFER WET CONTAINS A INGREDIENT THAT IS USED IN ANTIFREEZE[ IT IS A COMPOUND WHICH IS ONE MOLECULE AWAY FROM ANTIFREEZE ]
THERE WERE A COUPLE OF CASES WHERE A DOG AND TWO CATS WERE RECENTLY HAD TO BE PUT DOWN DUE TO LIVER FAILURE . ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE SWIFFER WET BOX IT CONTAINS A WARNING “THIS PRODUCT MAY BE HARMFUL TO SMALL CHILDREN AND ANIMALS ” PETS AFTER WALKING ON FLOORS THAT HAVE BEEN MOP WITH THIS PRODUCT WILL THEN LICK THERE PAWS. IF INGESTED ENOUGH OF THIS PRODUCT THE DOGS LIVER WILL THEN SHUT DOWN .PACO JUST WANTED TO LET EVERYONE KNOW TO BE CAREFUL .


Last updated: 17th June 2006
First published: 17th June 2004
By Brett M. Christensen
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