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Nationwide class action filed against Ecolab
McCune Wright Arevalo filed a class action lawsuit against Ecolab on 20th February in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota on behalf of three plaintiffs, alleging they sustained personal injuries through use of its defective and unreasonably dangerous products - OxyCide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner and the OxyCide Dilution Management System.
The complaint seeks to represent a nationwide class of current or former hospital employees exposed to OxyCide cleaning products.
Ecolab first distributed its OxyCide cleaning products to over 500 hospitals nationwide in 2013. Since then, hospital workers have reported what they feel are serious physical injuries from use of the products, including burning of the eyes, nose and throat, nasal problems, coughing, headaches, dizziness, nausea, nose bleeds, asthma-like symptoms, respiratory irritation, skin burns, rashes and other reactions affecting their pulmonary and respiratory functions.
It is alleged that through testing of chemical compounds in OxyCide cleaning products, the presence of dangerous chemicals and compounds known to cause adverse health effects was revealed. This included peracetic acid, or peroxyacetic acid, a known asthma-causing substance and respiratory sanitiser, which is said to cause immune responses and adverse respiratory effects, even at low levels of exposure. Despite these complications, it is alleged that Ecolab refused to act through analysing, testing, studying, or recalling its products, and OxyCide continues to be sold and distributed to hospitals nationwide.
The complaint details the plaintiffs' experiences with OxyCide cleaning products and their health issues following use of the products. One plaintiff was exposed to OxyCide on three occasions over the course of a year. Upon her first exposure, she began to suffer from shortness of breath, coughing, burning eyes, a runny nose, a hoarse throat and voice loss, upset stomach and headaches. Upon her second exposure, she immediately experienced shortness of breath, coughing, nausea, burning eyes, a runny nose, voice loss, and paling of the skin. Her third exposure led to the same symptoms. Due to repeated exposure, she now suffers from constant shortness of breath when walking even short distances and is now on an albuterol inhaler and other asthma and allergy medications.
MWA Partner Michele Vercoski leads the firm's class actions practice and uses her extensive litigation and trial background to hold big businesses responsible for their actions.
"It is heartbreaking hearing the very serious medical problems occurring in the workplace for these hardworking and dedicated health workers," she comments. "Although there were various public health reports and complaints, it appears Ecolab and the some of the hospitals have not taken the necessary steps to protect these workers from OxyCide.
“If there were safeguards or adequate warnings in place, the health workers could have taken the necessary precautions to protect themselves while around OxyCide. Instead, they have experienced serious symptoms and medical issues, and many now find themselves with permanent and disabling injuries."
27th February 2020