April 30, 2003
CPSC Says Deadly Products
Are Still In Use Despite Warnings and Recalls
Agency Releases "Most
Hazardous" List and Urges Home Inspections
-Despite recall notices and warnings, consumers continue to
use products that have the potential to seriously injure or kill, according
to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC today
unveiled a list of many common hazardous consumer products and urged
consumers to use the list to check their homes and destroy or fix unsafe
"These products have previously received substantial attention because they
were recalled or addressed by safety standards. But they continue to be used
each year, leading to deaths, injuries, and property damage," said CPSC
Chairman Hal Stratton. "These products may be in any home. They may be sold
at yard sales or donated to charity or thrift shops. Some of them can be
fixed, but most simply need to be destroyed," he said.
"We don't want to see deaths or serious injuries caused by previously
recalled products or by products that don't meet current safety standards.
We want to prevent these needless tragedies," said Stratton.
"Through recalls, safety standards, and consumer information, CPSC helps
make American homes safer by taking hazardous products off the market and
identifying those products that need to be fixed to be safe," Stratton said.
He showcased the products on the "most hazardous" list at a news conference
today at CPSC headquarters.
Consumers can view the current list of dangerous products below, or to
receive the list by mail, they should send a postcard to "Recall Round-Up
List," CPSC, Washington,
Consumers can also register to receive automatic announcements of all future
CPSC recalls at the agency's Web site:
can also view a video clip about some of the products covered by this year's
Recall Round-up (standard
version or a
higher quality version - broadband connection recommended)
(transcript) . This is in
"streaming video" format.
Below are some of the hazardous products that consumers are most likely to
find in their homes:
Old Power Tools
that present an electrocution hazard. In a recent year, there were
approximately 15 electrocution deaths associated with old power tools. Old
electric power tools (made before the 1980s) may not have modern safety
features to prevent electrocution. For example, old power tools were made
with metal housings, while newer tools are made with plastic housings to
provide double-insulation against electric shock. Old power tools also may
not have proper grounding or may have frayed wires or other hazards.
Discard old power tools. Do not give them to thrift stores or sell them at
a yard sale.
Old Extension Cords
that present a fire or shock hazard. Old extension cords, power strips and
surge protectors may have undersized wires, loose connections, faulty
components or improper grounding. Old extension cords may fail to meet
current safety standards and can be overloaded easily. In a recent year,
electrical cords and plugs were involved in about 5,200 fires resulting in
40 deaths. Look for cords with the label from an independent testing lab
such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or ETL. Use cords that have
polarized plugs or grounded three-pronged plugs to reduce the risk of
shock. Don't overload cords with too many appliances.
Window blind cords with loops
loops that can strangle children. Window blinds may have pull cords that
end in a loop or inner cords that can form a loop if pulled by children.
Both can cause strangulation. CPSC knows of about 160 strangulation deaths
to children in looped window covering cords since 1991. In 1994, CPSC
worked with industry to provide a repair for old window blinds to
eliminate the loops on the end of pull cords and to eliminate that looped
cord on new blinds. In 2000, CPSC worked with industry to repair old
blinds so that the inner cord can't form a loop if pulled by a young
child. The industry also redesigned new blinds to address this hazard. Old
window blinds with looped pull cords and inner cords that can be pulled to
form a loop must be repaired. There are about 85 million units sold each
year. The Window Covering Safety Council offers free repair kits that
include small plastic attachments to prevent the inner cords from being
pulled loose, and safety tassels for pre-1995 window blinds with outer
pull cords ending in loops. Consumers should cut the loops and install a
safety tassel at the end of each pull cord. Consumers who have vertical
blinds, draperies or pleated shades with continuous loop cords should
request special tie-downs to prevent strangulation in those window
coverings. Call the Council at (800) 506-4636 or go to their web site:
Halogen torchiere floor lamps
that can cause fires when combustibles such as drapes come too close to
the bulb. These lamps need a wire or glass guard and a bulb that is 300
watts or less to help reduce the fire risk. More than 40 million halogen
floor lamps made before 1997 by numerous firms were recalled because they
have no guard to protect against fire. CPSC knows of 290 fires and 25
deaths since 1992 related to halogen torchiere floor lamps. People can get
the free wire guards by sending a postcard to Catalina Lighting Consumer
Services, 18191 NW 68th Avenue, Miami, FL 33015.
Old cribs made before CPSC and industry safety
entrap, strangle, or suffocate children. Old cribs with more than 2-3/8
inches between crib slats; corner posts; or cut-outs on the headboard or
footboard present suffocation and strangulation hazards. Cribs with
missing or broken parts or cornerposts higher than 1/16 inch also present
a risk of death. CPSC estimates there are about 30 deaths per year in
cribs, many of which are older, used models. Destroy old cribs and those
with missing or broken parts or cornerposts higher than 1/16 inch. Use
only those cribs that meet current safety standards.
Cadet Heaters that could cause a fire. CPSC is aware of more
than 320 reports of Cadet and Encore heaters (models FW, FX, LX, TK, Z, ZA,
RA, RK, RLX, RX, RW, and ZC) that smoked, sparked, caught fire, emitted
flames, or ejected burning particles or molten materials. These incidents
have allegedly resulted in four deaths, two serious burn injuries and
property damage claims exceeding $4.3 million. Due to Cadet's bankruptcy,
the opportunity to obtain discounted heaters expired on
February 17, 2002. CPSC strongly urges consumers to stop using these 1.9
million recalled Cadet and Encore heaters and replace them. In addition,
some RM and ZM model heaters sold separately or provided as replacements
for some of the previously recalled heaters can overheat and cause a fire.
Cadet will arrange for a free service call for affected RM and ZM heaters.
The Cadet recall hotline is 800-567-2613 and the Web site is
Hairdryers without immersion protection devices
electrocution. Since the early 1990s, hairdryers have had built-in shock
protection devices to prevent electrocution if they fall into water.
However, electrocutions from old hairdryers are still occasionally
reported. Replace the old hairdryer with a new one with a large
rectangular plug and the mark of a recognized testing laboratory.
Disposable and novelty lighters that are not
CPSC set a standard (effective in 1994) requiring disposable and novelty
lighters to be child-resistant. Since the standard took effect, there has
been a 58 percent reduction in fires caused by children under age 5,
representing the prevention of hundreds of deaths and injuries and
thousands of fires. However, in a recent year there were still 2,400 fires
resulting in 70 deaths and 480 injuries because of children under age 5
playing with lighters. Keep all cigarette lighters away from children and
make sure all of your lighters are child-resistant.
Drawstrings around the neck on children's jackets
can catch and strangle children. In 1995, CPSC worked
with industry to eliminate hood and neck drawstrings on kids' jackets and
sweatshirts. CPSC knows of 23 deaths and 56 non-fatal incidents from
January 1985 through November 2000. Pull out or cut all neck drawstrings
on children's jackets and sweatshirts. Do not sell them at garage sales or
give them to thrift stores. In 1998, CPSC found that many thrift stores
were selling recalled, hazardous products, including children's jackets
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Recall Round-up List: April 29, 2003
Old Power Tools without double-insulation or
Electric power tools made before the 1980s may not have modern safety
features to prevent electrocution
Old power tools were made with metal housings,
while newer tools are made with plastic housings to provide
double-insulation against electric shock. Old power tools also may not
have proper grounding.
15 electrocution deaths in a recent year associated with old power tools
Discard old power tools. Do not give them to thrift
stores or sell them at yard sale. Always use a ground fault circuit
interrupter (GFCI) with a power tool to prevent electrocution.
Cords, Power Strips, and Surge Protectors with undersized wires,
loose connections, faulty components or improper grounding.
Faulty extension cords (with undersized wires,
loose connections, faulty components or improper grounding) can cause
fire, shock, and electrocution.
In one year, CPSC estimated there were 5,200 fires resulting in 40
deaths associated with electrical cords and plugs.
Look for certification label from an independent
testing lab (such as UL or ETL). Use cords that have polarized plugs or
grounded three-pronged plugs to reduce risk of shock. Don't overload
cords with too many appliances.
Old Window Blind Cords with Loops in which
children can strangle
Old window blinds with pull cords and inner cords
can form a loop and cause strangulation. Children can become entangled
in the pull cords or the inner cords used to raise the slats of the
85 million units sold each year; about 160 strangulations since 1991.
Call Window Covering Safety Council for free repair kit:
Halogen Torchiere Floor Lamps, all those
manufactured before 02/05/97
Fire hazard when bulb ignites flammable materials.
40 million units; 290 fires; 25 deaths reported
In-home repair with free wire guard. Get wire
guards by calling (800) 985-2220 or sending postcard to:
18191 NW 68th Ave.
Miami, FL 33015
Safety Alert (pdf)
Old Cribs that have slats too far apart,
corner posts, cut-outs in headboard or footboard, loose-fitting
mattress, and missing hardware.
Infants can suffocate or strangle when they become
trapped between broken crib parts or in cribs with older, unsafe
About 30 deaths per year in old cribs
Get a crib that meets current safety standards.
Cadet Heaters (in-wall electric) that could
cause a fire
1.9 million units
Cadet and Encore models: FW, FX, LX, TK, Z, ZA, RA, RK, RLX, RX, RW and
ZC distributed primarily in California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and
Washington from 1978 through 2000. Some RM and ZM model heaters also are
involved. Some heaters sold in other states.
CPSC is aware of more than 320 reports of heaters
that smoked, sparked, caught fire, emitted flames, or ejected burning
particles or molten materials. These incidents have allegedly resulted
in four deaths, two serious burn injuries and property damage claims
exceeding $4.3 million. Due to Cadet's bankruptcy, the opportunity to
obtain discounted replacement heaters expired on February 17, 2002.
Cadet will arrange for a free service call for affected RM and ZM
Check your heater to see if it is one of the
recalled heaters. If it is, replace it. Call Cadet at (800) 567-2613 or
Hair Dryers without immersion protection
devices to prevent electrocution.
Hair dryers without an immersion protection device
present a risk of electrocution if submerged in water.
Occasional reports of electrocutions from old hair dryers
Get a hair dryer with a large rectangular plug and the certification
mark of a recognized testing laboratory.
Disposable lighters that are not
child-resistant as required by CPSC's safety standard (effective 1994).
Since the standard took effect, there has been a 58% reduction in fires
caused by children under age 5, representing the prevention of hundreds
of deaths and injuries and thousands of fires.
In a recent year, there were 2,400 fires resulting
in 70 deaths and 480 injuries because of children under age 5 playing
Destroy old non-child-resistant disposable
lighters. Keep all lighters away from children.
Drawstrings around the neck on children's
jackets and sweatshirts
In 1995, CPSC worked with industry to eliminate hood and neck
drawstrings on kids' jackets and sweatshirts.
Drawstrings around the neck of jackets and
sweatshirts can catch and kill children.
23 deaths and 56 non-fatal incidents between 1985 and 2000
Pull out or cut all neck drawstrings on children's
jackets and sweatshirts.
NOTE: Products listed
above may have already been repaired or there may be similar products that
do not have the identified problems. For assistance in identifying recalled
products, call the manufacturer listed or the CPSC toll-free Hotline at