Whether you're stopping in for groceries, office supplies, or housewares, shopping at Walmart is part and parcel of everyday life for many U.S. residents. And while the chain's low prices and generous returns policy have made it a beloved shopping destination for its millions of customers, not every product sold at the big box store is a winner. Unfortunately, in the case of one popular product sold by the retail giant, customers are more than dissatisfied—they're getting sick, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this one Walmart product may be linked to multiple illnesses and deaths. Read on to discover which Walmart product is under investigation by the CDC and what you should do if you have it at home.
Six aromatherapy sprays sold at Walmart are being recalled.
On Oct. 22, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) announced that approximately 3,900 bottles of Better Homes and Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones were being recalled. The recalled sprays include the brand's Lavender&Chamomile, Lemon and Mandarin, Lavender, Peppermint, Lime&Eucalyptus, and Sandalwood and Vanilla scents.
The products, which were produced in India, were sold in approximately 55 Walmart stores in the U.S. for approximately $4 between Feb. 2021 and Oct. 2021.
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The sprays may contain dangerous bacteria.
Walmart initiated the recall of the aromatherapy sprays after it was discovered that they may be contaminated with Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that it had identified Burkholderia pseudomallei in one of the recalled sprays. Burkholderia pseudomallei can cause melioidosis, AKA Whitmore's disease, which can cause abscesses, fever, localized pain or swelling, and ulceration when the infection is localized. When the infection has spread to the lungs, it may cause anorexia, coughing, chest pain, headache, and a high fever.
When the infection has spread to the blood, it may cause abdominal pain, disorientation, fever, headache, joint pain, and respiratory distress. If the infection becomes widespread, it may cause brain or central nervous system infections, chest pain, fever, headache, muscle or joint pain, seizures, stomach pain, and weight loss. The onset of symptoms typically occurs within four weeks of exposure; individuals with cancer, chronic lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, thalassemia, and certain other conditions that suppress the immune system are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from melioidosis.
Two deaths possibly related to the recalled products are being investigated.
The CDC identified four related cases of melioidosis in the U.S. between March and July 2021. Among this group, two of the affected individuals died. The CDC reports that melioidosis is most common in Asia, Australia, the South Pacific, Mexico, certain parts of Central and South America, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, the Lesser Antilles, and parts of Africa and the Middle East, but the affected individuals, who are residents of Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas, had no recent history of travel outside of the U.S.
While the CDC hasn't definitively confirmed that these illnesses and deaths are related to the use of the Better Homes and Gardens aromatherapy sprays, the health authority is performing additional testing to conclusively determine the source of the outbreak.
If you bought the recalled aromatherapy sprays, stop using them.
If you purchased the recalled aromatherapy sprays, stop using them immediately. If your bottle is unopened, do not attempt to open it or throw it away.
"Double bag the bottle in clean, clear zip-top resealable bags and place in a small cardboard box. Return the bagged and boxed product to a Walmart store," the CPSC recommends. Upon returning the product, you will be provided a $20 gift card to Walmart.
If you used the aromatherapy sprays, clean your home thoroughly.
If you've sprayed any of the recalled products on your sheets, remove them from your bed while wearing gloves and wash and dry them using a hot dryer cycle. If any surfaces in your home may have come into contact with the spray, clean them using an undiluted disinfectant solution. When you've finished cleaning your home or bagging your bottle for return, throw away the gloves you were wearing and wash your hands thoroughly. If you have used any of the recalled products and are experiencing health issues, contact a medical professional immediately.
If you have questions related to the recall, contact Walmart at 800-925-6278 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Sunday, or visit the product recall page on the Walmart website.