The Laundress Bacterial Infections Result in Massive Recall and Class Action Lawsuit

About 8 million The Laundress products were recalled due to the risk of bacterial infections.

The cleaning products company The Laundress faces a class action lawsuit over bacterial contamination which has impacted millions of its products, including harmful Pseudomonas bacteria, which can cause serious and potentially life-threatening fatal infections in those with compromised immune systems.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Margaret Murphy in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California on November 24, claiming The Laundress knowingly sold adulterated cleaning products with toxic bacteria to consumers, resulting in physical and economic injuries to thousands of consumers.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a Laundress laundry and household cleaning products recall on December 1, indicating the company is aware of at least 11 consumers who have reported Pseudomonas infections, and that an investigation is ongoing to determine if there is any connection to the recalled products.

The lawsuit claims multiple laundry detergents, fabric conditioners and other cleaning products sold by The Laundress, now owned by Unilever, contain Pseudomonas bacterium, which is commonly referred to as a “superbug” due to its antibiotic resistant properties. This type of infection has caused fatal outbreaks in hospitals in previous years, carrying a 39% fatality rate, the lawsuit states.

Pseudomonas is a common bacterium that can cause disease in plants, animals and humans and can be found in many different environments including soils, water and plant or animal tissue. The infection may cause mild to severe health consequences in humans including fever, chills, body aches, light-headedness, rapid pulse, heavy breathing, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and decreased urination. However, those with a weakened immune system, especially patients diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, can suffer lung infections due to the bacteria’s ability to thrive in moist environments.

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In the lawsuit, Murphy claims she purchased the products based on the belief that they were safe and that advertisements made by the manufacturer that the cleaning products are “non-toxic” and “eco-friendly” made them suitable for use.

“In making the false, misleading, and deceptive representations and omissions described herein, Defendant knew and intended that consumers would pay a premium for Products under the – false – belief that the Products were safe and free of toxins”, the lawsuit states.

Murphy states that as a result of these misrepresentations, she and her family, along with many other consumers have suffered from respiratory infections, skin infections, rashes, and hives as a result of the exposure to the contaminated Laundress cleaning products.

The complaint alleges that Unilever engaged in unfair and fraudulent conduct, false and misleading advertising, and unjust enrichment, among others claims. Murphy’s complaint seeks class action status to represent herself, and all other class members who paid a premium for the contaminated products.

The Laundress Recall Announced After Suspected Illnesses

A Laundress safety notice was first issued on November 18, instructing customers to immediately stop using all of the company’s products due to the potential for them to be contaminated with elevated levels of bacteria. At the time of the safety notice, the company stated that their current investigation had not revealed any adverse health impacts related to the issue.

The company subsequently issued an updated safety notice on November 21, indicating that it was working with the CPSC to identify the root cause of the potential bacteria presence. The update reiterated for consumers to immediately stop using all lines of cleaning products. The CPSC announced the recall just days later.

However, the recall further revealed additional bacterial infections could be present in the products, warning consumers of the risk of the presence of Burkholderia cepacia complex, Klebsiella aerogenes and multiple different species of Pseudomonas.

The recall includes approximately 270 different Laundress laundry detergent, fabric conditioner and other cleaning products that have lot codes beginning with a prefix letter F and the last four digits numbered9354 or less, H and the last four digits numbered 2262 or less, and T and the last four digits numbered 5264 or less.

A total of approximately 8 million products manufactured from January 2021 through September 2022 are impacted by the recall. For a full list of the recalled products, please visit The Laundress recalled product list.

The CPSC recall indicates consumers should immediately stop using the affected products, and can request a refund by using a photo of the lot code with their initials and date written in marker, or with a receipt. If consumers purchased the product through the company’s website, they can submit their e-mail address to get the refund instead. The refund is limited to customers who purchased the affected products in or after January 2021.

Consumers with questions can call The Laundress at 800-681-1915 or visit the website at www.TheLaundressRecall.com

3 Comments

  • JenniferJanuary 3, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    I have used The Laundress products for about two years. 45 days after my last purchase in July 2021, I almost died in the hospital with a severe lung infection.

  • SusanDecember 26, 2022 at 10:45 am

    Likewise, I am also experiencing the same problem. Every time I try to submit a claim online they tell me my email and account do not exist although I receive emails from them regularly, even now, soliciting me to buy more of their products. I purchased duos of a few of their products, including those that are on their recall list. Bad enough this situation occurred but now I have no means of reco[Show More]Likewise, I am also experiencing the same problem. Every time I try to submit a claim online they tell me my email and account do not exist although I receive emails from them regularly, even now, soliciting me to buy more of their products. I purchased duos of a few of their products, including those that are on their recall list. Bad enough this situation occurred but now I have no means of recourse.

  • VickiDecember 9, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    I have tried to submit a claim for several recalled products. The 800 number automatically disconnects after listing product numbers and provided the recall webpage. The 'Get Started' link on the recall webpage opens chat window. There is a link to a list specific product details but no ability to submit a claim.

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