The Clorox Company has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit in New York days after roughly 37 million bottles of scented Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaners were recalled nationwide due to bacterial contamination.
The 26-page complaint alleges Clorox has “improperly, deceptively, and misleadingly” labeled and marketed the recalled Pine-Sol products to the public, namely by failing to disclose on the items’ labels that the products contain harmful bacteria that “could lead to serious and life-threatening adverse health consequences.”
Be sure to scroll down for a list of the Pine-Sol products included in the recall—and to learn how you can get a refund.
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According to the filing, the voluntarily recalled Pine-Sol products were found to contain Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria widely found in soil and water and known to survive on inanimate surfaces. The bacterium can cause infections in the blood, lungs or other body parts, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states it can enter the body via inhalation, through the eyes or through a break in the skin.
“Consequently, consumers, like Plaintiff and Class Members, are at risk by using Defendant’s Products as [they] are used to clean surfaces, which allows Pseudomonas aeruginosa to infect individuals by either being in close proximity to the applied surface or by touching the applied surface,” the suit explains.
Although people with healthy immune systems are usually not affected by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacterium can kill immunocompromised individuals, the case says.
According to the CPSC, no incidents or injuries have been reported yet in connection with the products.
Clorox had “duty” to share accurate info with consumers, suit says
The suit notes that sales of disinfecting products like Pine-Sol have steadily increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers have “become more vigilant and bacteria conscious” with regard to the cleanliness of their homes. Indeed, the market for cleaning products was valued at $33.8 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.9 percent through at least 2028, according to the lawsuit.
As one of the oldest cleaning product manufacturers in the United States, The Clorox Company is in the “unique and superior” position of knowing which ingredients and raw materials are used to make its goods and is likewise aware of the risks inherent in its manufacturing processes, including the risk of bacterial contamination, the case says. Accordingly, Clorox, the suit claims, has “a duty” to share with the public accurate information on the ingredients contained in its cleaners – information that consumers would never have access to themselves.
“Consumers lack the meaningful ability to test or independently ascertain or verify whether a product contains unsafe substances, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, especially at the point of sale, and therefore must and do rely on Defendant to truthfully and honestly report what the Products contain or are at risk of containing on the Products’ packaging or labels.”
The complaint stresses, however, that the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was never disclosed on the labels of the now-recalled Pine-Sol products, including on their ingredients list.
As a result, the lawsuit alleges, Pine-Sol buyers “lost the entire benefit of their bargain” by spending money on a cleaning product contaminated with a bacterium known to be harmful to human health. The recalled and contaminated Pine-Sol products are “entirely worthless” and “in no way safe for humans” due to the presence of the bacterium, the complaint says.
According to a New York Times report, a spokesperson for Clorox said that the presence of the bacteria was detected during a “routine product review.” If the bacteria made its way into the cleaners by accident, that would point to “poor manufacturing processes” by either Clorox or its agents, the suit argues.
Which Pine-Sol products were recalled?
Clorox is recalling the following varieties of Pine-Sol products produced at its Forest Park, Georgia facility between January 2021 and September 2022:
· Pine-Sol Scented Multi-Surface Cleaners in Lavender Clean, Sparkling Wave and Lemon Fresh
· CloroxPro Pine-Sol All Purpose Cleaners in Lavender Clean, Sparkling Wave, Lemon Fresh and Orange Energy
· Clorox Professional Pine-Sol Lemon Fresh Cleaners
According to the CPSC, the recalled products, which come in 28-, 48-, 60-, 100-, 144-, and 175-fluid ounce bottle sizes, are labeled with date codes beginning with the prefix “A4,” and their first five digits are numbered less than 22249.
The recalled Pine-Sol products were sold on Amazon and by retailers including Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, Kroger, and Dollar Tree, the lawsuit says.
The CPSC urges consumers who’ve purchased any of the now-recalled Pine-Sol products to immediately stop using them.
How do I get money back from the Pine-Sol recall?
Consumers should take a picture of the 12-digit UPC code and date code on the bottle, dispose of the product and contact Pine-Sol for a full refund. You can get a refund by visiting PineSolRecall.com and submitting a claim online, or contacting the company by phone at (855) 378-4982.
Who’s covered by the lawsuit?
The case looks to represent all consumers nationwide who purchased any of the recalled Pine-Sol products listed on this page during the applicable statute of limitations period.
I’ve bought recalled Pine-Sol. Can I join the case?
As far as “joining” the proposed class action detailed on this page, there’s nothing you need to do to “join” or be included in a case when it’s first filed. Really, it’s only if and when a class action settles that the “class members,” i.e., the people who are covered by the suit, will need to act, which typically involves filling out and filing a claim form online or by mail. In some cases, a consumer will be notified directly if they’re covered by a class action and the case settles.
Fact is, though, that class action lawsuits tend to take some time to work through the legal process, usually on their way toward a settlement, dismissal or arbitration outside of court.
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