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Toxic Carpet Cleaners Killed Her Pets!

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I-Team 10 investigates: Fatal fumes

It was supposed to clean her carpets, but a local woman said it also killed her pets. I-Team 10 is looking into a Greece woman's claims that her pets died from fumes after she steam cleaned her carpets. Was the label on the carpet cleaning solution misleading? I-Team 10 takes a closer look.

The empty cage is a painful reminder of the helplessness Rene Bulger felt.

"This is like a child to me,” Bulger said. “I was very close to my bird."

Her bird's name was Baby, a cockatiel she got four years ago and trained it to talk and whistle.

Bulger said, "He'd sit on my shoulder. Eat off me, liked to eat pasta. He was just a very different type of bird."

The cockatiel was in its cage Wednesday along with a companion bird, a parakeet. Just minutes after Bulger finished shampooing her carpets with a steam cleaner she noticed something was wrong with her favorite bird.
"His heart was racing really fast and he was gasping for air, and I grabbed him and was like, oh my God, what's wrong, what's wrong," Bulger said.

Her cockatiel died, and an hour later the parakeet was dead as well.

"I didn't know what to do for him. I was just holding him,” said Bulger.
Bulger believes her birds died from the carpet cleaning solution's fumes.

Veterinarian Dr. Gerald Balonek said it’s not that unusual. The doctor said any strong fumes from air fresheners to paint to scented candles can be fatal to birds.

"The fumes will affect...they have lungs and they have these organs called air sacs and they become inflamed and they're part of the respiratory system and they just can't breath and they have a reaction to it,” Dr. Balonek said.
Bulger bought the Great Value brand of carpet cleaner from Wal-Mart. It's the pet formula that says it's designed for homes with pets and their problems.

Bulger said, "First thing that comes to mind is, can't hurt your pets. I didn't think nothing of it."

She said she has used other cleaners in the past without problems and always checks for warning labels that state if a product is harmful to animals. The Great Value Carpet cleaner cautions only to keep out of reach of children.
Bulger called the Wal-Mart store where she got the carpet cleaner and was told she has to fill out a complaint form. I-Team contacted Wal-Mart headquarters in Arkansas about the product. A spokesperson tells I-Team 10 that product safety is a top priority and they are investigating Bulger's claims.

Source: http://www.whec.com/article/stories/S385691.shtml?cat=565
 

J Parks

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Yes, hwat you said is exactly right . Toxic carpet cleaners will kill our pets. Even it will effets over health that leads to the ill-health. Ithik eco-friendly methids should be used for the cleaning purpose.

Thanks.
 

raz

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Its really bad on the part of the pet. Atleast all of you know wake-up and stop using toxic products today it has killed an pet but tomorow it even might kill us. please, avoid using toxic products use the natural products.
 

rob allen

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One of the first news reports on TMF. I don't know about carpet cleaning but I do know about pest control. All our products require removal of birds due to delicate respiratory systems. If I am using a strong product then I would probably suggest they move birds out of the immediate area.
 

wandwizard

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I came pretty close to killing a dog once years ago. Of all things, it was the deodorizer I used that made the dog pretty sick, so that she had to rush it to the vet. Fortunately it lived. It made me more sensitive to applying anything with a stronger scent around animals of any type. Same thing goes for around the elderly or people who already have breathing problems. I never purchased another gallon of that deodorizer from Spartan Chemical company. The deodorizer smelled great with a floral scent,and it worked well, but I guess it was too much for the small dogs lungs. I was so relieved to hear it was ok. The old lady had the dog out while I was cleaning and let it back in immediately afterwards. I think the house was closed up w/ poor ventilation. Anyway, the little dog lived to "pee" another day and many, many more pees after that. So happy ending.:)

If I'm around small children, babies, small pets, elderly, or anyone with breathing problems in the least, I will usually switch to a very low VOC chemical and use as little as possible. A lot of times I'll just mix up some Klenz and do everything with that. I've been using Chemeisters Proliminator for years now w/o issues for a number of odor related issues. I now make it a point to at least try and get anyone who might be affected out of the areas being cleaned or even out of the house if possible.
 

Mother Hubbard

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I always ask people to leave the room while I at least put the pre spray down. why subject them to that . especially pregnant and the elderly.
 

Joseph Fortner

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That news is not good because i always call for my cleaning services.In Helsinki Finland i find the best cleaning services and as of now i never been heard any bad news for them but still i am worrying about it.
 

Scott W

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As the vet in the article stated, birds especially have extremely sensitive respiratory systems. I have even heard of birds getting sick from aerosol of water sprayed into the air. They inhale the small droplets of water and it harms their lungs. Even more so for anything with a fragrance.

Remove all birds and other pets from the area when spraying anything. Keep them away for at least 4 hours so that any mist in the air has time to settle. Proper spraying practices, (right sized tips, right pressure, proper use of and and so forth) help assure that no excessive mist is in the air.

The problem is not really dangerous chemicals. The problem is anything in the air. Keep the birds away from the cleaning location.
 

Frank Bartley

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No doubt that an toxic can kill your pets.In Finland country i never heard yet some pet killed because of cleaning carpet in fact in part of Helsinki there is a cleaning service or toimistosiivous that use some chemical stuff and it clean the home or office including carpet in safety way.
 

Brian Jones

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toxic... must have been one of those deadly portables huh.. .....;)
 

Troyster

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A lady asked if my products were safe for allergies and asthma and I insured her it is because I have many more allergies than the average allergic person and asthma to boot so I insured her that I would be in big trouble cleaning carpets if my products weren't safe for those conditions! never had a problem!!
 

deriols

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Yes, hwat you said is exactly right . Toxic carpet cleaners will kill our pets. Even it will effets over health that leads to the ill-health. Ithik eco-friendly methids should be used for the cleaning purpose.
 

Mama Fen

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As the vet in the article stated, birds especially have extremely sensitive respiratory systems. I have even heard of birds getting sick from aerosol of water sprayed into the air. They inhale the small droplets of water and it harms their lungs. Even more so for anything with a fragrance.

Remove all birds and other pets from the area when spraying anything. Keep them away for at least 4 hours so that any mist in the air has time to settle. Proper spraying practices, (right sized tips, right pressure, proper use of and and so forth) help assure that no excessive mist is in the air.

The problem is not really dangerous chemicals. The problem is anything in the air. Keep the birds away from the cleaning location.
As a vet tech, I assisted an avian specialist for several years. And I can say that even keeping a house just a little too damp or a little too dry can cause serious respiratory problems in birds - and by the time symptoms show, it's almost always too late. Cockatiels and budgies have very little body weight, and so anything that has a negative effect on their health does so with terrifying rapidity.

Things like air fresheners, topical cleaning sprays or polishes, even the fragrance beads used in laundry (if the cage is near the laundry area) can kill something as small as a budgie in a matter of minutes.

Considering that a bird like a hyacinth macaw can cost as much as $15,000, people who buy expensive birds tend to pay more attention to the environment in which the bird is going to live. Cheap birds like budgies tend to be bought by people who have never owned a bird, don't know how to properly care for one, and will typically die early. Their lifespan in captivity is generally 5 years or so, whereas they are actually capable of living for ten to twelve years if allowed an ideal environment.

Cockatiels, on the other hand, could live a whopping 30+ years if cared for properly, whereas average lifespan for them is more like 10-15 years in captivity.

So if your customer has a caged bird in the home and wants you to clean, make sure the cage is placed in an area you will NOT be cleaning, and that there is a barrier of some sort (like a closed door) between you and the cage at all times. The bird may not 'drop dead' minutes after you're gone, but the environmental changes caused by HWE could very well shorten its life without you or the customer even knowing it. Temperature and humidity changes alone could very well do the trick, not just chemicals.
 

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rob allen

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Bird and cat dies in a home from carpet cleaning agents...
bird cat die clenaing fumes.jpg
 

Mama Fen

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Bird and cat dies in a home from carpet cleaning agents...
View attachment 88048
Again, according to the story, a dry powder chemical that the homeowner bought himself and used in his 400-square-foot home.

And the BWW crew were using an aggressive chlorine bleach without getting rid of a strong acid that had previously spilled. So the reaction between the two was toxic, not the use of one chemical or another. They simply didn't read the directions and use accordingly.

Seeing a pattern here...?
 
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SMCommerical

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The pattern I see, is hire a professional. Your restaurant may pay more than having in house cleaners, but you can't replace the knowledge one has learned from being on the field. Also, hire someone who has been in the field a few years+ and has some form of insurance.
 
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wandwizard

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Manager at Buffalo Wild Wings dies from cleaning agents...

I was curious so I checked for what I figured happened and it so happens I was right. Those 2 chems were one called Scale Kleen and the second was named Super 8. Turns out the main ingredient of Super 8 is sodium hypochlorite, possibly stronger than regular laundry bleach, but not sure, and no doubt that is what caused the toxic fumes. I had a customer years ago that I've mentioned before on here who added laundry bleach to the product called Mean Green to try and clean his carpet with a Rug Doctor. The result was him being taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital where they saved his life and the other result was he ruined all of his carpets with bleach and a very high ph cleaner mixed together!

The moral of this story is don't mix bleach with anything unless you REALLY KNOW what you're doing. You may not live to regret it. Personally I don't even use the stuff on my laundry and never will.
 
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Robert86

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Again, according to the story, a dry powder chemical that the homeowner bought himself and used in his 400-square-foot home.

And the BWW crew were using an aggressive chlorine bleach without getting rid of a strong acid that had previously spilled. So the reaction between the two was toxic, not the use of one chemical or another. They simply didn't read the directions and use accordingly.

Seeing a pattern here...?
Oh absolutely and sadly something I see much too often. I worked in a supermarket meat department with a guy that would make his own all purpose cleaners mixing Windex, sanitizer, degreaser, and bleach. He said it worked great but made is eyes and throat burn... We'd dump it out and the next day we'd find a new bottle of it.

On the original post something I noticed... She steam cleaned her carpet. I wonder if the pet safe chemical she used wasn't made for that kind of thing. The "fumes" used with cold or warm water may not be that bad at all. But if it's being used with temps that produce steam that's not "fumes" from the chemical, that's the chemical.