A convenience store owner in New Jersey reacting to the coronavirus outbreak created and sold a spray sanitiser that left four children with burns, officials have said.
Authorities issued a summons charging Manisha Bharade, 47, with endangering the welfare of children and deceptive business practices.
State consumer officials also opened an investigation into the sale and promotion of health and sanitation products at her 7-Eleven store in River Vale.
Bharade mixed commercially available foaming sanitiser, which was not meant for resale, with water and packaged the bottles in her store, authorities said.
Retailers who try to make a quick buck by exploiting others will face civil and criminal consequencesGurbir Grewal, attorney general
“An apparent chemical reaction from the mixture caused the burns” to the three 10-year-olds and an 11-year-old, authorities said.
“Let me be perfectly clear: if you try to take advantage of our residents during a public health emergency, we will hold you accountable,” said attorney general Gurbir Grewal.
“Retailers who try to make a quick buck by exploiting others will face civil and criminal consequences.”
Five of the 14 bottles that were sold were turned over to police for analysis.
One person in the state has died and more than a dozen residents have been sickened from the coronavirus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and a cough.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
According to the World Health Organisation, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and over 58,000 have so far recovered.