Monday, July 26, 2010

Update on the Case of the THING

For those keeping abreast of the developments in my Case of the mystery THING , I have been contacted by Health Canada and spoke with a lovely agent by the name of Rosa.
Rosa forwarded me an Incident Report form to fill out which will go to the Ottawa offices.  With the completed form, I included the 2 photos featured in my previous blog post.

No callback from the manufacturer or corporate office today.

Will update with any new developments.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eco-Friendly? Notsomuch!

Warning:  End of post contains some pretty disgusting photographs of a mysterious dead THING found in a grocery product.  Not for the squeamish.

I recently purchased a bottle of eco-friendly laundry fabric softener, store brand, from a major grocery chain.  I immediately fell in love with the heady sweet lavender fragrance (100% essential oils!), and the fluffy softness of my linens.
I found the consistency to be quite strange - like that of a hand cream or heavy hair conditioner.  As it was a brand that was new to me, I didn't think much of it.

Then a few nights ago, I encountered a large wolf spider momma with a bazillion babies on her back.  I did not realize this until I swatted said spider, and hundreds of tiny wee spiders exploded out onto the bathmat.  I reacted by swatting and swatting and freaking out just a lil bit.  I carried the bath mat outside so any living spiders could escape, and so I would not have to deal with it (it was 2am).
The next day, my adorable 71 yr old mother decided to launder the bath mat for me using my gorgeous eco friendly fabric softener.
I went about my morning as usual, checking emails and online forums until I heard Mom call from downstairs "Ummmm...Heidi...there is something a lot more icky than the spider here...come look in the washer"

I went downstairs, expecting some kind of earwig or other nasty crawly thing to appear.  I wish!
In the washing machine fabric softener dispenser was a dead...THING.  I do not know exactly WHAT it may have been, only that I expect that it was a mammal.  It had no fur nor bones.  A brownish sludge coated the dispenser and washer basin (where Mom had dropped the THING after discovering it).  The THING was about the size of a small mouse or mole, without a tail.  It kinda looked like the bag of guts you find inside the cavity of a turkey, but without the bag. 
I immediately ran upstairs to get my camera as this is not something that can simply be described in words.  I snapped a few pics, all the while trying not to lose my breakfast.  I have a very weak stomach for such things (not that this such thing has ever happened before, but any seriously gross stuff makes me ill).
I went back upstairs to locate the corporate contact information for the grocery chain and/or manufacturer of the product.  While I did this, my mother actually disposed of the THING in the toilet.  I don't blame her one bit.  I managed to reserve a tissue sample from inside the dispenser, and I have saved the almost-full bottle of fabric softener.
I emailed the corporate office, but was too freaked out to wait for a reply.  I phoned the customer care number.  I gotta give the phone agent credit for maintaining a calm, even tone and professional manner - you KNOW she has never had to deal with this kind of thing before.  She advised me that she would forward my information to the quality assurance department as well as the corporate office.  She said that they would reimburse me for the product (ummm..really? I deal with this kind of mess and I will get $3.79  back?).

On a brief trip to the grocer (for unrelated food products) that afternoon, I stopped by the laundry care aisle to check on that same brand of fabric softener.  It was a different batch number.  The solution was watery, as most fabric softeners are.  Whatever the THING was in my bottle is what caused it to turn into a thick, pasty solution.  Upon my return home, there was a message on my answering machine from the grocery corporate office.  They had advised that I should contact the Food Inspection Agency to determine what the THING was, and that they will continue their investigation on their end as well.  My phone call to the FIA led nowhere, as they only deal with edible items.  A Google search led me to Health Canada, which seems to have concerns with household chemicals.  I left a message on their voicemail.  I hope to hear back from them on Monday.  The small tissue sample is secure in a Ziploc freezer bag in the freezer door, and the product bottle is in the shed (so it doesn't get used by accident).

Everything that had been washed with the stuff now needs rewashing.  The worst part?  I had made some homemade Febreze with it, and now my home is spritzed with lavender scented THING carcass juice.

I will post an update after Health Canada or the grocery corporate office contacts me.

Here are a couple of photos of the THING. 

THING in mug after being removed from dispenser.  That is my Mom's thumb covered in the sludge.
mug, spoon, and ALL items that came into contact with the THING have been disposed of.

main part of THING
Washing machine dispenser coated in the sludge: