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Jan 6, 2012 6:35 PM by David Sherman

Tide with anthrax: urban legend again making the rounds

Last year during the first week of January, we received several comments on the KXLH Facebook page about whether we know anything about samples of the laundry detergent Tide being contaminated with anthrax.

My mom just gt a forward saying that theres anthrax in tide samples coming in the mail....do you know if its true?

Have you heard anything about Anthrax poison in the Tide packet being sent in the mail. CNN has reported that just want to know if it true!

And this year - again, during the first week of January - the number of search queries about this urban legend have spiked.

You can relax and continue doing the laundry: there are no reported instances of Tide - or any other common household cleaning products - being contaminated with anthrax.

This urban legend has been making the rounds via e-mail for several years, and started shortly after the real anthrax attacks in 2001. For some reason, it has started circulating again - this time via e-mail, text message, and online forums - as reported at Snopes.com, one of the leading sites in debunking urban legends:

A variant of this scare which began circulating in mid-2010 cautioned about mailed samples of Tide brand detergent supposedly containing anthrax. In January 2011, that scare was spread by text messages sent to cell phones, some of them asserting "It was on CNN today!"

Here are several variants of the message, as reported on the Urban Legends section of About.com:

IMPORTANT FWD: Anthrax poison in Tide detergent packs coming thru the mail do not open or use. 7 ppl dead already. Plz pass it on!!!

Anthrax Poison in Tide Detergent packs coming thru the mail do not open or use. 7 people dead already. Please pass it on. IT WAS ON CNN

Just got a forward saying "Anthrax poison in Tide detergent packs coming thru the mail. Do not open or use, 7 people dead already. Please pass this on. It was on CNN yesterday." Has anyone else heard this?

I was informed that if you get any Tide samples don't open it. Its contaminated with Anthrax. 7 people have died so far. CNN is reporting don't open any sample of washing powder.

So many people have fallen victim to believing that the message is true that even Tide officials weighed in last year, posting on a Tide online message board (since deactivated):

All,

As many of you have noticed, the Tide Anthrax Hoax message has started to circulate again.

I would like to confirm that this is definitely a hoax, any Tide samples coming through the mail are completely safe.

We appreciate your support in helping us eliminate this rumor by sharing the fact that it is a hoax or directing people to this page for more information.

If you are concerned or want further reassurance please contact our Consumer Relations team on: 1-800-879-8433.

Many thanks,
Mandy

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