Update: Minnesota Hospital Worker Sues Ecolab Over OxyCide Health Effects
A housekeeper in a Minnesota hospital who claims she suffered nosebleeds and uncontrollable coughing from OxyCide SDS has filed a lawsuit against Ecolab, alleging the company “fraudulently concealed defects” of the cleaning products and failed to adequately warn of risks associated with handling them. Plaintiff Gretchen Eadson, of Palo Alto, California, further alleges that Ecolab falsely represented that side effects of OxyCide were the same as other safer alternatives, even though tests found the products contain dangerous chemicals which cause severe respiratory effects.
“Ecolab willfully or negligently declined to investigate and disclose the serious health risk to health care professionals and the general public, disregarded well-founded complaints and chose to continue to risk the health of the public despite the availability of less-harmful cleaning agents,” the complaint states. “Hospital workers have consistently and repeatedly reported serious physical injuries associated with the use of Ecolab’s OxyCide Cleaning Products since they were first distributed in 2013 to over 500 hospitals in the U.S.”
Months after Eadson began suffering from nosebleeds and respiratory symptoms, a medical specialist advised her to stop working with OxyCide, according to the lawsuit. She later found out that many of her hospital coworkers had experienced similar health effects.
The lawsuit is: Eadson v. Ecolab, Inc. et al., case number 0:20-cv-01126, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
What is OxyCide?
OxyCide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner is used in hospitals to protect against Clostridioides difficile (Clostridium difficile) spores, Candida auris, and other organisms. Ecolab Inc. markets OxyCide as a “non-bleach formula that is compatible with a wide range of materials which helps standardize and simplify your cleaning process for improved operational efficiency.” OxyCide has been on the U.S. market since 2013.
What’s the Problem?
Recent class action lawsuits allege that OxyCide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner contains hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid, and peracetic acid (also known as peroxyacetic acid or “PAA”), a known toxin that causes serious respiratory symptoms, even at low exposures. Hospital workers across the U.S. have reported experiencing severe side effects after using OxyCide. Lawsuits allege that Ecolab negligently distributed a harmful product.
Oxycide Side Effects
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Asthma-like symptoms
- Chronic respiratory problems
- Burning eyes
- Cracked hands and nails
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Loss of voice
- Upset stomach
- Skin burns
- Raw lips
- Sores on or in mucous membranes
- And more
When reports of OxyCide side effects began to surface, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) launched an investigation into reports of respiratory problems among workers at a Pennsylvania hospital. Researchers concluded that exposure to the active ingredients in OxyCide was associated with symptoms of irritation among many hospital employees. NIOSH recommended that the facility take measures to reduce occupational exposure to the substance.
U.S. Government recommendations suggest a PAA exposure limit of 0.4 parts-per-million (ppm) for “short-term” use, which assumes an average exposure of 15 minutes. According to the class actions, Ecolab used this established cap to support their claims of OxyCide’s safety. However, NIOSH reported that the company failed to consider the potential health effects of hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid in their safety evaluations. Ecolab also failed to test the symptoms of long-term exposure, the complaints state.
Health Effects of OxyCide Exposure in Hospital Workers: AJIC Study
A study published in the Oct. 2017 edition of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) looked at health problems associated with disinfectant exposure at a large multi-specialty hospital. Researchers with the Respiratory Health Division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) questioned 163 hospital staff members about symptoms of work-related respiratory effects. They found that OxyCide users reported a higher prevalence of work-related wheeze and watery eyes than non-users, and that workers in the department with the highest air measurements of OxyCide had a significantly higher prevalence of watery eyes and a 3-fold increased rate of asthma. The researchers concluded that OxyCide was associated with mucous membrane and respiratory health effects.
Peroxyacetic Acid Safety Guidelines
- Eye contact – Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Get medical attention
- Skin contact – Immediately take off all contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water or shower.
- Inhalation – Remove victim to fresh air and keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing. Get medical attention immediately.
- Ingestion – Rinse mouth. Do not induce vomiting. Seek medical attention.
Source: OxyCide Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
Nurse Sues Ecolab, Kaiser For OxyCide Side Effects
A nurse at the Kaiser Medical Center in Baldwin Park, California, who allegedly suffered breathing problems and other health effects from OxyCide disinfectant has filed a lawsuit against her employer and Ecolab in Los Angeles Superior Court, according to FOX News. Plaintiff Sheneka Brown began working for Kaiser in Feb. 2020 and within about 2 weeks, Kaiser started using OxyCide throughout its hospital facilities, according to the lawsuit. Shortly thereafter, Brown claims she began suffering from difficulty breathing, a sore throat, headaches and nausea.
“Even after plaintiff’s shift ended, her symptoms would linger throughout the night and would only subside after a few days away from OxyCide,” the complaint states.
Plaintiff brings causes of action against Kaiser and Ecolab for negligence, strict liability and both intentional and negligent misrepresentation.
Hospital Workers File OxyCide Class Action in Minnesota
Three hospital workers who developed severe health problems after using OxyCide have filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota. “Some of our members started complaining of fairly severe symptoms,” said the president of AFT-Vermont, a union representing healthcare professionals. The lawsuit accuses Ecolab of failing to adequately test OxyCide for safety, or warn hospitals about the potential risk to their employees.
What are OxyCide Lawsuits Alleging?
Lawsuits allege that Ecolab marketed OxyCide to hospitals with the promise of reducing costs related to Clostridium difficile (C. Diff.) infections. Ecolab represented the product as a safe alternative to other cleaners despite reports of side effects. Instead of recalling OxyCide or issuing updated safety guidelines, defendants concealed data from internal tests and ignored consumer complaints, according to the lawsuits.
Can I Participate in a Class Action?
Although several OxyCide class actions have already been filed, our lawyers have decided against filing such a claim in this litigation. We feel that individual OxyCide lawsuits, rather than a class action, will result in the maximum payout to our clients. Contact us now to learn more about your legal rights.
Do I Have an OxyCide Lawsuit?
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in OxyCide lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by OxyCide side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.