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Clorox recalls cleaning products that may contain bacteria

Although no illnesses linked to the recall have been reported, people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk if exposed to the contaminated products.

OAKLAND, Calif — If you're thinking of wiping down your kitchen with that bottle of Pine-Sol all-purpose cleaner under your sink — stop. It may contain bacteria that could cause serious illness in people with compromised immune systems.

The Clorox Company said Tuesday it has recalled its scented multi-surface cleaners and all-purpose cleaners. The recall doesn't include its iconic original pine-scented Pine-Sol, which is its only product registered as a disinfectant.

The products recalled by the Oakland, California-based company also include scented CloroxPro Pine-Sol All Purpose Cleaners and Clorox Professional Pine-Sol Lemon Fresh Cleaners, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement.

The products “may contain bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an environmental organism found widely in soil and water,” the commission said.

Although no illnesses linked to the recall have been reported, people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk if exposed to the bacteria-contaminated products. Clorox said it is conducting the recall out of an abundance of caution. 

Which products are being recalled?

Testing identified bacteria in the recalled products produced between January 2021 and September 2022, the commission said. According to the recall notice, Clorox produced about 37 million recalled Pine-Sol products during that time.

Look at the date on your Pine-Sol bottle. If it has the prefix "A4" followed by a five-digital number less than 22249, it's part of the recall. The products were sold in bottles ranging from 28-ounce to 175-ounce. These Pine-Sol bottles were manufactured at Clorox's Forest Park, Georgia facility, the recall notice said.  

Here's what products are affected by the recall:

Pine-Sol Scented Multi-Surface Cleaners

  • Lavender Clean
  • Sparkling Wave
  • Lemon Fresh 

CloroxPro Pine-Sol All-Purpose Cleaners

  • Lavender Clean
  • Sparkling Wave
  • Lemon Fresh
  • Orange Energy

Clorox Professional Pine-Sol Lemon Fresh Cleaners is also included in the recall. The original Pine-Sol (Pine Scent) is not included in the recall. 

What you should do if you have a recalled product

The recall says you should stop using the affected Pine-Sol products immediately. Then, take a picture of the 12-digit UPC code and date code before throwing the product away. 

After that, contact Pine-Sol for a full refund of the purchase price or the manufacturer's suggested retail price (this all depends on if you still have the receipt or not). 

What is Pseudomonas aeruginosa?

The CDC says this germ is common in the environment, like in soil and water. It can be dangerous in hospitals, causing infections of the blood, lungs, or other parts of the body after surgery.

"The bacteria can enter the body if inhaled, through the eyes, or through a break in the skin," the recall notice says. "People with healthy immune systems are usually not affected by the bacteria."

TEGNA medical expert Dr. Payal Kohli said if one of her patients was concerned over the recall, she would ask if they or their family had noticed any symptoms of an infection. If there was an issue or concern, blood and urine tests would help diagnose the problem.

"For the most part, if you're feeling well, and you've been exposed to these products, just be careful in the future," Kohli said. "But there's really not much that you need to do at that point." 

The bacteria is a much larger concern in medical settings, where patients with weakened immune systems, open wounds or on ventilators or catheters could be exposed. The bacteria can also be resistant to antibiotics, making it difficult to treat severe infections. To keep infections down and avoid needing antibiotics, Kohli said doctors urge people to practice hand hygiene and be mindful of when they're touching their faces. 

"All of the things we learned about during the pandemic are very, very helpful when it comes to other types of infections as well," Kohli said.

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