Example: [Collected via e-mail, May 2004]
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.
Variations: December 2008 versions of the warning proclaimed "THIS IS TRUE & VERIFIED ON SNOPES.COM." Which is not the case — our article indeed says the opposite.
Origins: So much about this anonymous message purportedly detailing the demise of someone's neighbor's dog and that neighbor's housekeeper's two cats is wrong or unverifiable:
- The message gives no information about its writer or either of the pet owners, and thus provides no avenue through which inquiries can be made to verify its contents. It appears to have been disseminated through its posting to many different dog-related newsgroups and mailing lists, always by a second-hand source who had "received it in
- The claims that the cleaning agent used with the Swiffer WetJet is "antifreeze" or "a compound which is one molecule away from" something else are quite similar to a number of other alarmist scares we've seen (such as one about margarine) and are indicative of an uninformed writer's making unwarranted assumptions.
According to P&G's Material Safety Data Sheet
(MSDS),most of the cleaning fluid used in the Swiffer WetJet system is water (somewhere between 90 and 100 percent),with propylene glycol n-propylether and isopropyl alcohol making up between 1 and 4 percenteach, and the remainder of the solution composed of minor ingredients and
The two most common compounds found in antifreeze and
de-icingsolutions are ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. The former has been identified as posing a danger to pets, but propylene glycolis much safer than ethylene glycol — ithas been classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an additive that is "generally recognized as safe" for use in food, it is found in a variety of medicines and cosmetics, and it is recommended as a safe alternative to antifreeze for pet owners. Moreover, what the Swiffer Wetjet cleaning solution contains is not propylene glycol itself, but propylene glycol n-propylether, an ingredient found in many, many different brands and types of household cleaning products. If this compound truly posed a significant risk of causing fatal liver damage in cats and dogs, we should be hearing about many more pet deaths associated with cleaning products other than the Swiffer WetJet.
Also note that the danger posed to pets by antifreeze (i.e., ethylene glycol) has to do with kidney failure, not destruction of the liver as claimed in the message quoted above.
- The warning message claims that the anonymous writer found on his WetJet packaging a warning label which stated that the product "may be harmful to small children and animals." We examined the warning labels on every Swiffer WetJet product we could find at our local stores, and none of them bore such wording. The labelling on all these products (i.e., the Swiffer WetJet Power Mop with Jet-Action Sprayer, the Wood Floor Cleaner, the Multi-Purpose Cleaner, and the Cleaning Pad Refill) was identical and read: "AVOID ACCIDENTS: KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS. In case of eye contact, flush thoroughly with water. If irritation persists, call a physician." This is the standard boilerplate warning label found on virtually every household cleaning product to inform users that cleaning agents are generally caustic and may be harmful should they come into direct contact with the eye. On Swiffer products, the first line of the warning (the one referencing children and pets) was presented in block letters and in darker type than the rest of the message, all of which was listed in three languages: English, French, and Spanish.
Only the warning carried on the Antibacterial Cleaner solution was different: after an expanded caution about not getting the product into one's eyes and the procedure for flushing exposed eyes with water, it concluded, ''Contact a Poison Control Center or doctor for treatment advice. Have the product container or label with you when calling the Poison Control Center or doctor or going for treatment." Nowhere on this label was there mention of children or pets, and even the part of the warning devoted to Poison Control Centers and doctors might well have applied only to the preceding passage about getting the solution into one's eyes. No Swiffer product carried a warning cautioning users that its toxicity might pose a danger to children or pets, as suggested by the message quoted above.
A: Your pet will be fine if it licks its paws after walking on a newly wet floor mopped with WetJet or Wet cloths. You can always offer water or milk to help remove the perfume taste from your pet's mouth. But even drinking large amounts of the Swiffer solution would not be expected to cause more than temporary and minor intestinal upset.
A: We're glad you came to us for the facts about the rumor circulating. Swiffer Wet cloths and WetJet liquid solution do not contain antifreeze or any ingredient similar to it. In fact, Swiffer products have been safely used in over
Independent veterinarians and scientists evaluated the Swiffer Wet Cloths and WetJet cleaners and found them safe. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has even posted information about this rumor on their site. Here's a link to their home page: http://www.aspca.org
We have pets too, and their health and well-being is very important to us. Please help us put animal lovers' minds at ease and stop this rumor by sharing the truth with others.
The Swiffer Wet Jet system contains water (90-100%), propylene glycol
Also, given this message's similarity to a different, unfounded
|   ||Swiffer Pet Rumor
(Procter & Gamble)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Swiffer and Pets Do in Fact Mix." 17 May 2004.