Suspicious consumers nationwide, panicked by a rash of apparent copycat product-tamperings, are calling doctors and police with reports of fouled soda pop, mouthwash and muffins three weeks after the cyanide-Tylenol deaths.
Florida authorities today were testing soda pop after two teenagers were hospitalized and five bottles of a foul-smelling soft drink were discovered.
'Really, it's just panicsville down here,' said a Florida health department spokeswoman.
Other reports of product-tampering -- apparent copies of the cyanide-Tylenol contamination that killed seven people -- came from a Dallas man who inhaled nose spray laced with sulfuric acid, a man who burned his mouth with Lavoris spiked with hydrochloric acid in Florida and a suburban Chicago woman whose mouth was burned by Listerine cut with sulfuric acid.
Investigators determined the incidents were isolated -- but a Clearwater, Fla., police officer blamed the mouthwash-tampering on some 'demented person' copycatting the Tylenol killer.
Some other reports have been unfounded.
A Michigan woman said she discovered ground glass in a bottle of Max Factor makeup. The Ultra-Creamy makeup was pulled from stores in New Buffalo but it was later determined the woman suffered an allergic reaction to the makeup, which contains propyl paraben, a substance that crystallizes, the company said.
'Really, it's just panicsville down here,' said Hillsborough County, Fla., Health Department spokeswoman Mickey Tagliarini. 'People are coming in with everything from spaghetti sauce mistakenly dropped on the floor of a supermarket to blueberry muffin mix.
'It was Martha White blueberry muffin mix. The neighbor had heard something about Martha White, she panicked and they took off for the emergency room,' she said.
Two Tampa teenagers were taken to hospitals Thursday night complaining of stomach and throat pain after they drank Pepsi-Cola. Tests showed the pop was acidic.
Palm Beach County health authorities Friday were testing five bottles of foul-smelling 7-Up that made one woman dizzy.
'It did smell badly,' said Dr. Dale Taviris, a health department consultant.
Hundreds of bags of Martha White rice were ordered off the shelves of 114 Tampa area convenience stores Thursday. A Lakeland family got sick after eating the rice, purchased from a convenience store.
Taviris said Visine AC eye drops consumers turned in have been tested -- and found unadulterated.
Gary L. Dozzi was hospitalized in stable condition after inhaling Sinex nasal spray contaminated with sulfuric acid. A spokesman for Richardson-Vicks, the Connecticut-based maker of the spray, said the incident was isolated -- but about 60 north Texas Kroger stores swept the product from their shelves.
A Massachusetts man bought a doctored bottle of cinnamon-flavored Lavoris mouthwash in Clearwater, Fla., and suffered mouth burns from muriatic acid, a swimming pool cleaner.
Authorities determined the incident was isolated -- but Lt. Wayne Sidberg blamed it on a 'demented person' copycatting the Tylenol killer.
An Oak Park, Ill., woman bought an unwrapped bottle of Listerine mouthwash spiked with sulfuric acid and suffered burns.