People who purchased an air freshener product at Walmart in recent days and months hoping for a breath of fresh air could be killed by it; the potentially lethal spray is being immediately pulled off store shelves. The spray, “Better Homes & Gardens Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones,” appears to contain an extremely rare but extremely dangerous bacteria not typically found in the continental United States. Without proper treatment, up to half of the exposed, infected patients could die from the disease brought on by the bacteria.
The CDC determined a version of the room spray contained the bacteria Burkholeria pseudomallei, which causes melioidosis. There is a wide range of symptoms of melioidosis that can be mistaken for other diseases, including fever, cough, chest pain, headache, respiratory distress, and more.
The contaminated spray was sold at about 55 Walmart stores and on Walmart’s website between February and October 21, 2021, when Walmart pulled remaining bottles of this spray and related products from store shelves and its website. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Walmart are issuing a recall for the lavender and chamomile room spray and five other scents in the same product line. Investigation continues into whether other related scents and brands may pose a risk.
The products being pulled include:
- 84140411420 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender & Chamomile
- 84140411421 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lemon and Mandarin
- 84140411422 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender
- 84140411423 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Peppermint
- 84140411424 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lime & Eucalyptus
- 84140411425 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Sandalwood and Vanilla
CDC recommends that anyone who has this aromatherapy spray in their home:
- Stop using this product immediately. Do not open the bottle. Do not throw away or dispose of the bottle in the regular trash.
- Double bag the bottle in clean, clear zip-top bags and place in a small cardboard box. Return the bagged and boxed product to a Walmart store.
- Wash sheets or linens that the product may have been sprayed on using normal laundry detergent and dry completely in a hot dryer; bleach can be used if desired.
- Wipe down counters and surfaces that might have the spray on them with undiluted Pine-Sol or similar disinfectant.
- Limit how much you handle the spray bottle and wash hands thoroughly after touching the bottle or linens. If you used gloves, wash hands afterward.
- If you have used the product within the past 21 days and have fever or other melioidosis symptoms, seek medical care and tell your doctor you were exposed to the spray. If you do not have symptoms but were exposed to the product in the last 7 days, your doctor may recommend that you get antibiotics (post-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent infection.
Authorities say roughly 3,900 bottles of the spray were sold at approximately 55 Walmart stores nationwide and online at walmart.com. The products were first sold in February of this year and were pulled from store shelves yesterday at Walmart.
Laboratory testing at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei in the spray. The air freshener was found October 6 in the home of a Georgia resident who became ill with melioidosis in late July. CDC is continuing testing to see if the genetic fingerprint of the bacteria in the bottle matches those of the bacteria identified in the four patients – one each in Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Minnesota. Two of the four patients died.