healthcare janitor working with cleaning products

Ecolab Inc. is a Minnesota-based company that produces hygiene, water, and energy technologies and products. Their clients include the healthcare, hospitality, and energy industry, as well as customers in other organizations.

One major part of their business is producing cleaners used in these industrial settings. 

Though the company emphasizes safety and product quality in its advertisements for products, Ecolab is facing claims that one of its products is harmful to workers. Ecolab Inc produces OxyCide, a cleaner used in hospitals. It is a relatively newer product, but OxyCide has already received criticism. Some workers who have had to use the product say that it causes them a range of harmful side effects.

Pittsburgh City Paper pointed out the irony that a product designed to protect human health may be harming many users. The cleaner is supposed to be effective in killing Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that Mayo Clinic says may spread in hospitals and can lead to serious and even life-threatening infections.

Pittsburgh City Paper went on to say that serious chemicals are needed to effectively kill Clostridium difficile. However, these strong chemicals may be taking their toll on those workers who have to clean with Ecolab’s OxyCide.

What are the Side Effects of OxyCide Cleaner?

Some workers report that the cleaning product Oxycide burns their eyes and throat while they use it. One called the effect “like working with onions,” stressing that there is no relief from the discomfort unless they move away from the product into a well-ventilated area. 

Other workers say that the effects of the cleaner were so bad that they had problems breathing. Still others claim that they suffered a running or burning nose and headaches. In rarer and perhaps more severe cases, nosebleeds and vomiting were reported.

One worker interviewed by the Pittsburgh City Paper says “[OxyCide is] so dangerous. It’s putting a lot of us at risk, and not just the health-care workers, but doctors and patients as well. It’s about everyone in the hospital. Everywhere this product is being used it should be gotten rid of.” 

Employees at one hospital conducted a survey of workers’ experience with the cleaner, and 81 percent of the 244 employees surveyed say that their health was negatively impacted – in direct contrast to OSHA laws meant to protect hospital employees.

Workers say that the cleaner is dangerous not just in its concentrated form, but in its diluted form as well — in other words, the workers claim that the product is dangerous and can pose a health risk in the form that is most often used. These allegations come in stark contrast to claims made by Ecolab that the cleaner is safer than others because it is dispersed in a system that does not require workers to mix or pour it.

What Are The Benefits of OxyCide?

According to Relias Media, powerful cleaning products have long posed a dilemma to the healthcare industry. Intense chemicals are often needed to tackle dangerous bacteria and viruses that can inhabit and infect hospitals. One particularly tough bacteria to be rid of is Clostridium difficile, also known as “c. diff”, the bacteria that Ecolab Inc.’s OxyCide claims to kill.

According to Relias Media, C. diff has largely resisted efforts to suppress it around the country, making powerful chemicals like OxyCide an attractive option. Still, the bacteria is linked to 29,000 deaths each year. However, these same chemicals often do pose serious health risks to workers — a problem that plagued hospitals long before OxyCide came on the scene.

Unfortunately, the problems illuminated in the OxyCide debate is just one part of a larger issue of cleanliness versus safety. Given that OxyCide is used in over 500 hospitals around the country, says Relias Media, it may be a problem that affects many healthcare workers.

dilantin sjs hospital bedThe National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has begun to conduct research into the effects of OxyCide. This research was spurred by complaints from workers at Magee-Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. The workers reportedly requested a Health Hazard Evaluation, an evaluation whose results were that “exposure to OxyCide is associated with adverse health effects and indicate the need to minimize employee exposure,” says the interim report, as recounted by Relias Media. 

According to healthcare workers who participated in the research, around 44 percent reported at least one work-related health issue; the most commonly experienced health issues were watery eyes and nasal problems, consistent with complaints allegedly related to OxyCide use. 

How to File an Ecolab Lawsuit

Ecolab Inc maintains that OxyCide has gone through “rigorous” testing, and is registered with the EPA, in response to claims that the cleaner could be harmful.

Hospitals who have started using OxyCide have also stood behind OxyCide in light of these claims that the chemical could be damaging, calling it a “key component” in their efforts to prevent infection in hospitals, while keeping both patients and employees safe.

If you or someone you know, like other workers, take issue with these claims that the product is safe and effective, you may want to file an Ecolab lawsuit. Talking with a knowledgeable lawyer about your experience with OxyCide can help determine if you might have a case against Ecolab. Filing an Ecolab lawsuit could be a path towards standing up to the company and gaining compensation for any injuries incurred. 

Join a Free OxyCide Cleaner Side Effects Lawsuit Investigation

If you worked in a hospital that used OxyCide cleaning products and suffered side effects from exposure to the disinfectant, you may qualify to join a FREE OxyCide cleaner side effects lawsuit investigation.

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This article is not legal advice. It is presented
for informational purposes only.

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