7-Eleven Owner Arrested After Children Burned by ‘Homemade’ Spray Sanitizer

A mom is warning parents after her taking her son to the emergency room for burns from an apparently homemade spray sanitizer bought at a 7-Eleven in River Vale, New Jersey.

Officials first became aware of the issue on Monday, March 9, 2020, when Lauren Michele Gehm posted photos on social media of bright red first degree burns on her son Dylan’s arms and legs. That evening, the River Vale Police Department visited the store and confiscated all remaining bottles. According to officials, 14 bottles of the solution were sold, five of which were turned over to the police.

Manisha Bharade, the owner of the convenience store, mixed commercially available foaming sanitizer not meant for resale, along with water and packaged the bottles for sale, state and county law enforcement officials said. A total of four children, ages 10 and 11, were burned by the mixture due to “an apparent chemical reaction from the mixture caused the burns,” authorities said.

She has since been arrested for endangering the welfare of children and deceptive business practices, NBC News reports.

The concoction included chemical compounds like Octyl decyl dimethyl ammonium chloride and Dioctyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, according to NBC New York. All of these chemicals are known to cause severe skin burns, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

In recent weeks, there has been a nationwide (if not worldwide) urgency to purchase hand sanitizers and other sanitizing sprays, as the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoiding touching the face to prevent the spread of the virus.

As of noon on Wednesday, March 11, the state of New Jersey had 23 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to NBC Philadelphia. One 69-year-old man has died of the virus in the state. The outbreak has officially been dubbed a global pandemic, but children seem to be spared from the worst of the virus.

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