Clorox is voluntarily recalling about 37 million bottles of scented Pine-Sol because the cleaning products may contain bacteria that can cause serious infections in people with weakened immune systems, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.
Pine-Sol’s research and development team detected bacteria during “routine product review,” a Clorox spokeswoman said. She said Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium found widely in soil and water, has been identified in “certain recalled products”.
There have been no reported illnesses or injuries related to the recalled products. Clorox said in a statement it was issuing the recall “with great caution.”
Experts have said that Pseudomonas aeruginosa is not a danger for most people. People who use external medical devices or have weakened immune systems are at increased risk of infection, Clorox warned.
Here’s what you need to know about the recall.
What products are being recalled?
Several varieties of Pine-Sol cleaners produced at a Clorox plant in Forest Park, Georgia between January 2021 and September 2022 are being recalled. The affected bottles have printed codes beginning with the “A4” prefix, followed by a five-digit number under 22249, Clorox said.
Pine-Sol pine-scented products are not affected by the recall.
The recall involves the following products: Pine-Sol Scented Multi-Surface Cleaners, in Lavender Clean, Sparkling Wave and Lemon Fresh scents; CloroxPro Pine-Sol All Purpose Cleaners, in Lavender Clean, Sparkling Wave, Lemon Fresh and Orange Energy scents; and Clorox Pine-Sol Professional Lemon Fresh Cleansers.
These products were sold by major national retailers such as Walmart, Sam’s Club, Dollar General, Target, Home Depot, BJ’s, Kroger, Dollar Tree, Lowe’s and Publix, as well as online retailers including Amazon.
What should I do if I purchased a recalled product?
Stop using it immediately. Take pictures of the codes on the bottle, then throw it away. Do not return it to the point of sale.
Clorox has set up a website where consumers can request refunds. Retailers and distributors can also request a refund.
What is Pseudomonas aeruginosa?
It’s a type of bacteria commonly found in water or soil that can cause infections in the blood or lungs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be very resistant to antibiotics.
It can spread easily, including through contact with contaminated hands or touching surfaces, said Dr. Martin Blaser, director of Rutgers University’s Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine. Most people are exposed to it by consuming it, perhaps by eating a fruit with the bacteria on the skin or by drinking contaminated water, Dr. Blaser said.
Healthy people generally don’t have to worry about Pseudomonas aeruginosa, he said, saying the risk of infection for the average person was “negligible”.
How common are these infections and what are the risks?
Hospitalized people are most at risk of infection from exposure to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, including those on ventilators or with catheters, and patients with surgical wounds or burns, the CDC said.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a “major cause” of lung infection in people with cystic fibrosis. Dr Blaser said people undergoing chemotherapy are also particularly susceptible to infections, which he says could be deadly for them.
“It can cause very serious infections in a relatively small number of people,” he said.
In 2017, there were about 32,600 Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections among hospitalized patients and about 2,700 deaths in the United States, according to the CDC. These infections can be difficult to treat because the bacteria are resistant to almost all antibiotics.
How can I protect myself?
Practice good hand hygiene and clean surfaces often.
The CDC advises healthcare facilities to follow guidelines for drinking water quality. Steps can include sanitizing sinks and faucets at least once a day, storing personal items away from sinks, and covering toilets before flushing.