Laundress recalls fabric-softener products over carcinogen risk

Federal consumer safety officials have recalled another batch of Laundress brand fabric conditioners because the products could contain a harmful carcinogen. 

The recall covers 15 milliliter, two ounce, 16 ounce, 33 ounce, one pound and one gallon bottles of The Laundress New York fabric conditioners with the white labeling on the front. The products may contain ethylene oxide, according to a recall notice Friday from the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC). 

Ethylene oxide is a chemical often used in factory settings to make adhesives, antifreeze, detergents and textiles, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Direct and prolonged exposure can cause vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, trouble breathing, and eye and skin burns, the CDC said. 

About 800,000 bottles have been sold online and in stores including Bloomingdale’s, Brooklinen, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Target, according to the recall. The fabric conditioner noted in the recall sold for $1 to $20 between 2011 and November 2022. About 13,000 bottles were sold in Canada, the CPSC added.

The federal agency said customers who bought the product should stop using it immediately and contact The Laundress for a full refund. There are no reported injuries or illnesses from the products, according to the CPSC. 

The Laundress is a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Unilever, which sells household cleaning products among other things. 

Friday’s announcement is separate from a 2022 recall of Laundress products. 

The pricey and environmentally conscious brand found different types of bacteria when testing some of its products in December, including Burkholderia cepacia complex, Klebsiella aerogenes and different species of pseudomonas. The company posted a notice in November, two weeks before the recall, urging customers to stop using its products completely.

Burkholderia cepacia, a group of bacteria found in soil and water, “are often resistant to common antibiotics,” but pose little medical risk to healthy individuals, according to the CDC. Those with weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease, however, are more susceptible to infection from the bacteria, the CDC said.

A list of all recalled Laundress products can be found at theLaundressRecall.com. Anyone with questions can email [email protected] or call (800) 681-1915.

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