FDA's Poor Oversight of Disposable Wipes Makers Poses Safety Risk to Consumers - Product Liability Claims Likely

The Food and Drug Administration has failed in its responsibility to maintain oversight over companies that manufacture disposable wipes. As a result, sanitation and hygiene standards at these facilities have dropped, and the result has been several fatalities and infections across the country caused by contaminated wipes. An investigation by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel found poor hygiene standards at a facility operated by yet another Wisconsin-based company that manufactures wipes.

Product liability claims are likely from any serious infection or wrongful death which arises due these wipes. A personal injury arising out of a serious infection often results in long-term hospitalization and continuing issues for the individual. Product liability claims which arise out of the improper manufacturing of a product can be very difficult to prove. However, personal injury lawyers have developed a variety of techniques of attacking these types of cases. The work of government agencies is often an important component in establishing civil liability in these matters.

That company, Rockline Industries manufactures baby wipes and other wipes that are used in hospitals and homes. According to the investigation, at least 5 years ago, employees of the company acting as whistleblowers wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration warning that thousands of contaminated wipes were being manufactured at the company's Arkansas facility. The whistleblowers alleged that the company was aware of the contamination of these wipes, but failed to take action, and continued to ship these wipes across the country. 

In 2006, an investigator from the Food and Drug Administration arrived at the facility, and found shockingly unsanitary conditions. These conditions included poor sanitation standards and shoddy product testing. The inspection was triggered after consumers began complaining about the moldy odors on some of the wipes, as well as the presence of foreign objects, including blades and even a dead cockroach.

Later that year, Rockline announced a recall of the wipes. The recall included approximately 20 brands manufactured by the company. According to tests conducted by the Food and Drug Administration, the wipes were contaminated with a bacterium called Burkholderia cepacia. This is a potentially dangerous bacteria especially to persons who have weakened immune systems. The levels of bacteria found on the wipes were as much as thousands of times higher than any healthy immune system can handle.

However, the Food and Drug Administration was satisfied enough with the recall, and took no further enforcement action against the company. Rockline is the 2nd Wisconsin-based company that has been involved in the contaminated wipes scandal. The first company was Hartland-based Triad Group, which was forced to recall millions of contaminated alcohol prep pads and wipes last year. The Food and Drug Administration has so far received at least 11 reports of deaths that were caused due to the contaminated wipes manufactured by Triad Group. Hundreds of illnesses have been reported from the contaminated wipes. A New York-based company has also recalled alcohol prep pads and wipes because of bacterial contamination.

Alcohol prep pads, wipes and other such hygiene products are used across the country, and are very popular. These are very often sold as part of home kits too. The Food and Drug Administration has failed to factor in the growing popularity and use of these products. The agency needs to conduct regular inspections of facilities that manufacture these wipes, and has consistently failed to do so.

The Atlanta product liability attorneys at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured due to the use of defective products in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.

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