I Wanna Know

PW exposes the tricks, scams and truth about the powers that be.

By Heather Duffy
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 23, 2004

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Q: We used to be able to buy different colors of toilet paper (pink, yellow, beige, blue) at any supermarket. Lately, all I can find is white. Has nonwhite toilet paper been outlawed?

A: After a few shamelessly amusing phone calls, it would seem there's just one brand of toilet paper left for those who like to match it to their bathroom's decor. It's not Charmin. It's not any of the Georgia-Pacific brands--Angel Soft, Quilted Northern and Soft 'n Gentle--though this company did throw a curveball. A look at Angel Soft's website shows that while that brand isn't available in colors, Soft 'n Gentle comes in white, pink or blue. A Georgia-Pacific consumer rep says both Soft 'n Gentle and Quilted Northern were once offered in colors, but that now the only option is white. Sheila, a consumer rep for Kimberly-Clark Corp. who declined to give her last name, has fielded a number of calls from those on the hunt for the ever more elusive colored tissue. Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Kleenex Cottonelle toilet paper, merged with the Scott Company in 1995. Scott has been making a pastel toilet paper since 1956. Yes. The company's website lists the availability of colored toilet paper in single rolls and four-packs in either pink, blue or beige. Kimberly-Clark doesn't sell its products direct to the consumer, but Sheila has a suggestion. "We always recommend customers ask the store to order it for them. We can ask the store, but it's better to hear it from consumers since they're the ones buying it off the shelves." Asked why white toilet paper has taken over lately, Sheila explains, "Consumers are into using white. It's consumer preference, and the stores order what sells." But, she adds, there's another reason for favoring white paper: health nuts. Some time back there was concern that the dyes used in toilet paper were harmful, and colored tissue just didn't recover from the hype. It's since been reported that the dye, as well as the chemicals in scented toilet paper, can cause allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin, but it's otherwise harmless and just as safe for sewers and septic tanks. So if you really want colored toilet paper, go ahead and call your local supermarket. The manufacturers can always make more.

What do you wanna know? Send queries and complaints to Heather M. Duffy at hduffy@philadelphiaweekly.comhduffy@philadelphiaweekly.com">hduffy@philadelphiaweekly.com>

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