Walmart recalls aromatherapy room spray following two potentially related deaths

Photo via CPSC

The product may contain harmful bacteria that could be fatal to those exposed to it

Walmart has issued a recall for around 3,900 bottles of an aromatherapy product because it may contain bacteria that is potentially lethal to consumers who are exposed to it.

The product -- called the Better Homes and Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones -- was recalled after tests conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that one bottle contained a rare and dangerous bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei. This bacteria can cause a sometimes fatal condition called melioidosis, which is characterized by cough, chest pain, high fever, headache, muscle soreness, and weight loss. 

The CDC is currently investigating a cluster of four confirmed cases of the condition in the U.S. that has already resulted in two deaths. Officials said a bottle of the aromatherapy room spray that contained the bacteria was found in the house of one of the deceased consumers, but the agency has not yet confirmed that it was the cause of death. 

The product was sold at 55 Walmart stores nationwide and online at from February 2021, through October 2021, for about $4. A full list of affected products can be found at the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s site here.

What to do

The CDC is urging consumers who bought the recalled product to stop using it immediately and keep it closed to contain any harmful bacteria. The product should not be thrown away. Instead, the agency says to double bag the bottle in a clean, clear zip-top resealable bag, place it in a small cardboard box, and return it to a Walmart store. The company said it will give consumers a $20 gift card after they have returned the product.

Consumers who owned the product are advised to wash any sheets and linens that the product may have been sprayed on with normal laundry detergent and to completely dry it in a hot dryer. Bleach may be used if consumers want to take that extra step. 

Consumers should also wipe down any counters or surfaces that might have been exposed to the spray with an undiluted disinfectant cleaner while wearing gloves. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after handling any contaminated objects or cleaning any exposed surfaces after removing the gloves.

Consumers can learn more about this recall by visiting the CDC’s site here.

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