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Dangerous alcohol wipes product may still be in stores

When a little boy was killed by contaminated alcohol wipes, the Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation which eventually led to a worldwide recall of the potentially dangerous product. Though the recall occurred more than half a year ago, some of the alcohol wipes are still on store shelves and in people's homes.

How is this happening? In some instances, people are simply unaware of the recall. One woman who purchased the wipes said she heard of the recall and then called her local convenience store where the wipes were purchased. She was unsure whether the wipes were contaminated because they had been under a generic brand name.

The store initially would not tell her whether the wipes she had bought were part of the recalled bunch. But her persistence paid off and she soon learned that they were in fact the possibly contaminated wipes. But she had learned about the recall months after the actual announcement was made.

There are probably many other consumers just like this woman who are completely unaware that a product in their home could be hazardous to their family's health. This particular recall raised concerns over whether companies were protecting their brand more than protecting consumers.

The spotlight also shifted to the FDA, with allegations that the federal agency was not completing audit checks after the recall to determine whether companies were following regulations. Should there be a better system for consumers to be alerted about recalls? Should the FDA be focusing on enforcing recalls?

These questions are not easily answered. But ultimately consumers should be made aware of dangerous and hazardous products that they purchase. Otherwise, there is a potential for injury and even death.

Source: Pioneer Press online, "Recalled alcohol wipes may still be in use," Raquel Rutledge and Rick Barrett, 18 July 2011

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