There’s no more dangerous place to work than a hospital these days. Nurses, doctors, clerical workers, and janitors put their lives at risk daily to help heal the sick and give people their lives back.
In the process, though, many healthcare workers are putting their own lives at risk.
What if, in the process of keeping everyone healthy, you end up sick yourself? What if the very means that keep germs at bay cause illness?
Keep reading to learn about the history and current status of the Oxycide lawsuit, a case that could end up compensating healthcare workers for the undue risk they’re put in daily.
Product Liability Cases Explained
- 1 Product Liability Cases Explained
- 2 What is OxyCide?
- 3 Fighting Infections
- 4 A Cure That Causes a Disease
- 5 One Study of Many Problems
- 6 OxyCide Cleaner Side Effects & Complaints
- 7 What is NIOSH?
- 8 National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety OxyCide Investigation
- 9 Ecolab OxyCide Class Action Lawsuits
- 10 Can You Claim Anything?
- 11 Your Options – File an OxyCide Lawsuit
A product liability case is a lawsuit in which the court holds a company liable for any harms their product may have caused. Product liability cases stretch across the board from harm caused by food to harm caused by a medicine.
In February 2020, a group of hospital workers brought a case against Ecolabs, the producer of OxyCide, for harms caused to them by the industrial-strength chemical meant to kill germs in hospital settings.
What is OxyCide?
OxyCide is a daily disinfectant cleaner used in hospitals. It is unique in that it is a one-step disinfectant that hospital staff has used for years to a broad group of dangerous organisms. In particular, OxyCide has proven itself effective in killing Clostridiodes-difficile, known as C. Diff, and Candida Auris.
OxyCide is also unique in that it is a non-bleach formula that has made cleaning in hospitals simpler because of its one-step process. In past years, hospitals have had to use complicated multi-step methods to make sure they killed the germs that made sick people even sicker.
This disinfectant worked as both a germ killer and a deodorizer. It works especially well on hard and flexible non-porous surfaces. Ecolab uses a combination of peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide to create this wonder cleaner.
Furthermore, chemists designed Oxycide, in all its power, as a daily cleaner. It can kill Candida Auris in an impressive three minutes and C-diff and 32 other dangerous organisms in 5 minutes or less.
Most industrial cleaners, because of their power, require a sound rinsing after a janitor has used them on a surface. OxyCide boasts of not needing any rinsing and thus is a great use for general disinfectant.
OxyCide creators also claim the chemical does leave any residual sale or films behind. The EPA backed the use of this chemical as a safe germ killer in hospitals.
In fact, after hospitals began using Oxycide, they began reporting lower infection rates compared to their old methods of cleaning where they leaned on bleach-based cleaners.
Ecolab began distributing OxyCide to more than 500 hospitals in 2013. Since that time, more hospitals have begun to use the disinfectant, making it a standard of disinfecting among hospitals.
Hospital staff is now reporting some curious problems because of the chemical, though. Longterm exposure is proving to lead to more serious complications among those regularly exposed to the chemical.
Hospitals are in the business of making sick people well. Ironically, though, many individuals can pick up infections at hospitals and end up sicker than when they came. Some never leave but end up dying from an infection picked up in the hospital.
HAI is a hospital-acquired infection, and it is a real problem. The CDC estimates that in American hospitals approximately 1.7 million infections come from hospital-acquired infections. More disturbing, though, is how 99,000 associated deaths each year come from those infections.
The infections consist of urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, lung infections or pneumonia, and bloodstream infections.
The CDC estimates that at their current level of care, 1 in 25 hospital patients currently have a hospital-acquired infection. The prevalence of HAIs lies in part due to resistant bacteria like C. Diff and Staph. These are the two most common sources of HAIs.
A patient can acquire C. Diff by simply ingesting spores transmitted by healthcare workers who picked them up from other patients or contaminated surfaces.
C. Diff spores are tough little guys. Only a disinfectant labeled sporicidal can break through the tough outer part of the C.Diff spore and kill it.
Unfortunately, though, the same harsh chemicals that kill C. Diff can cause significant illness among the hospital staff using them.
A Cure That Causes a Disease
There’s no doubt that sporicides like OxyCide kill the bacteria that leads to hospital-acquired infections, the same infections that kill millions of people. However, several studies are beginning to reveal that workers with asthma cannot tolerate cleaning as well as others. Cleaning is a risk factor that can complicate asthma symptoms.
Chemicals in the cleaning solutions can either cause or worsen asthma. The irritants in the chemicals include a long list of complicated terms:
- Quaternary ammonium compounds
These chemicals can either cause or worsen asthma symptoms. Hospital cleaning workers have also reported skin conditions as a result of exposure to these chemicals.
Currently, no one has surveyed hospital workers nationwide. Smaller surveys have revealed consistent health problems in workers who use these chemicals.
Most commonly, healthcare workers report eye irritation, headaches, neurologic symptoms, respiratory symptoms, and skin problems.
In January 2015, the CDC received a notification from the Health Hazard Evaluation program that some of the newest disinfectants, were causing these problems. In particular, the new disinfectants causing the problems contained hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, and acetic acid, the very same chemicals used in OxyCide.
Staff who have used OxyCide report of similar problems as those listed above. They talk about breathing problems including asthma-like symptoms and shortness of breath, burning throat pain, stinging or watering eyes, headaches, and skin burns.
One Study of Many Problems
The studies conducted have revealed the annoying symptoms of eye irritation and rashes and more serious problems like asthma and difficulty breathing. Further studies are now revealing that high levels of exposure can cause even more serious, life-threatening problems.
In particular, hemorrhage, edema, and consolidation of the lungs can result from high levels of exposure to these toxic chemicals.
Some workers have reported seeing the side effects of exposure to OxyCide subside once they moved to fresh air. So they would simply take breaks and step outside and see their symptoms disappear.
Unfortunately, though, some had long-term side effects that did not resolve themselves.
Once the healthcare workers began reporting increasingly more symptoms associated with OxyCide, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) stepped in and began investigating.
OxyCide Cleaner Side Effects & Complaints
Below is a list of potential side effects associated with OxyCide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner.
- Respiratory / breathing problems / bronchospasms
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
- Asthma, wheezing, coughing
- Throat irritation, including burning sensations
- Voice loss, including Vocal cord stridor (noise when inhaling and/or exhaling) and Vocal cord dysfunction
- Nasal irritation, including runny nose, bloody nose
- Dermal / Skin burns, cracked skin, lip irritation, and rashes
- Ocular irritation, including burning or stinging in the eyes
- Upset stomach, including nausea
What is NIOSH?
NIOSH stands for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. This is a government-run organization that aims to protect workers by learning about safety in the healthcare field and then applying that knowledge to create safer work environments. NIOSH falls under the authority of the Center for Disease Control.
NIOSH has been around since 1970 when the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed. they study the safety and health of workers, and they work hard to create safe work environments. They are responsible for safe work practices in places like the healthcare field.
National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety OxyCide Investigation
After noticing a trend of reports regarding disinfectants used in hospitals, NIOSH launched an investigation into chemicals like OxyCide. They wanted to study the Oxycide side effects and determine if indeed there was any OxyCide poisoning occurring.
NIOSH focused its OxyCide toxicity investigation on a hospital in Pennsylvania. Through this investigation, NIOSH concluded that the active ingredients in OxyCide did indeed cause health problems with the hospital employees exposed to OxyCide. NIOSH recommended the hospital take measures to limit their employees’ exposure to OxyCide.
The problems with Oxycide stemmed somewhat from a lack of ventilation. NIOSH discovered stagnant cleaning closes and bathrooms, places with inadequate ventilation. When a worker would clean a bathroom, for example, the chemicals would affect them more if the bathroom did not have good ventilation.
NIOSH also concluded that OxyCide was not diluted enough. Ecolab policy stated that its Dilution Management System would safely dilute the solution. However, the NIOSH test revealed the substance was far too concentrated, with pH levels of 2.85 to 4.86.
When Ecolab studied the toxicity of OxyCide, its results depended on tests where subjects were exposed to the chemical for 15 minutes. Janitorial staff at hospitals spend far more than 15 minutes cleaning. Their work exposes them to OxyCide for hours.
Ecolab had failed to test any effects that could result from long-term exposure to OxyCide.
NIOSH also concluded that exposure to OxyCide could result from minor to major complications. The longer a worker was exposed to OxyCide, the more severe his symptoms were. Long-term exposure led to serious, irreversible damage such as liver damage, kidney damage, circulatory problems, and pulmonary edema or fluid in the lungs.
Upon finishing its report of the hospital in Pennsylvania, NIOSH recommended hospitals make specific changes to how their employees use OxyCide if they continued with this disinfectant. They recommended diluting the product to an acceptable pH level and to require their employees to wear gloves when using OxyCide.
They also asked hospitals to modify their ventilation, heating, and air-conditioning systems to ensure employees had enough clean air to avoid inhaling the toxic elements of the chemical.
NIOSH also recommended employees wear goggles or face shields with their gloves to protect their eyes, lungs, and skin. They encouraged employees to stop using spray bottles and to keep the lid on OxyCide to keep the vapors in the container. Employees also need to now report any ventilation problems to their employers.
NIOSH encouraged any employees suffering from the symptoms listed with the use of OxyCide to report to their current doctor and an appointed worker at their hospital.
Ecolab OxyCide Class Action Lawsuits
On February 20, 2020, a law firm filed a class-action lawsuit against Ecolab, Inc. There were three plaintiffs currently listed that claim they have suffered injuries as the result of using OxyCide. They’re claiming EcoLabs did not dilute their products adequately or warn their employers of the potential problems with a lack of ventilation.
These plaintiffs are claiming both short-term and long-term effects from exposure to the chemicals. The problem is not just the exposure, but the lack of warning. Defendants are claiming that Ecolab knowingly exposed them to a chemical that could cause problems without giving them enough warning.
One plaintiff reports devastating neurological symptoms. She regularly experiences tingling in her arms and fingers. Another plaintiff claims she is experiencing worsening symptoms. Stopping her exposure to the chemical did not make her better, but instead, she has had to quit work because of the health problems she is now suffering from.
The lawsuit states that these plaintiffs would not have suffered this amount of serious injuries had they stopped using OxyCide earlier. Their long-term exposure has led to long-term health problems.
Attorneys and plaintiffs are also claiming that these health complications will lead to permanent disabilities. The problems caused by OxyCide will not go away with time.
Ecolab is continuing to distribute OxyCide, despite the lawsuit and the claims of health problems. They are not appearing to take any action on behalf of the consumers by analyzing, testing, or recalling OxyCide.
Can You Claim Anything?
If your work at a hospital ever exposed you to OxyCide and you have any of the symptoms associated with exposure to OxyCide, you have a part in this claim.
You do not have to suffer silently. You can claim the damages caused by exposure to OxyCide. You can claim any one of the following areas:
- Medical damages for medical treatment
- Loss of wages for missing work or quitting your job because of health complications
- Pain and suffering due to these complications
- Punitive damages
Your Options – File an OxyCide Lawsuit
If you or anyone you know has experienced health problems because of Oxycide, we can help you. Contact an experienced attorney handling OxyCide lawsuits.