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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
February 12, 1991 (301) 504-0580
Release # 91-035

"On-Wall" Electrical Wiring Component Replacement Campaign Announced

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Wiremold Company of West Hartford, CT, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has voluntarily initiated an inspection and replacement program to find and replace any cracked plastic electrical switchplate and outlet covers for their "On-Wall" series of surface wiring. The wires for this type of product are routed in channels on the surface of a wall as opposed to being located within the wall.

Plastic covers for Wiremold receptacles and switches used in conjunction with "On-Wall" wiring should be inspected because covers installed too tightly may crack and break when exposed to some household oil-based products such as insect spray and cooking oils. If such cracking is severe, there is a possibility that the electrical wires may become exposed. Should wiring become exposed, there is a possibility of severe electrical shock if a consumer inadvertently comes in contact with the exposed wiring.

This inspection and replacement effort includes plastic covers for duplex receptacles and switches installed primarily in apartments, condominiums and townhouses. The company is also asking consumers to examine plastic covers for receptacles and switches sold for do-it-yourself, "On-Wall" home wiring projects. Some 300,000 plastic components were sold between March 1986 and mid-1989.

Wiremold learned of the problem when the City of Glendale, Arizona reported that over 100 plastic switchplate and outlet covers installed in subsidized housing had cracked. Since the Glendale incident, the firm has received two additional individual complaints of cracking. However, there have been no reports of electric shock or injury.

The products include duplex receptacle catalog #843G and switch #840 which were sold to wholesalers; and duplex receptacle #NM12 (retail price approximately $7), switch #NM13 (retail price approximately $6), and outlet kit #NM100 (retail price approximately $35) which were sold to retailers for purchase by consumers. The "Wiremold" name and catalog numbers are stamped on the rear of the plastic back plate of the receptacles and inside the cover of the switches.

Consumers who purchased these plastic covers manufactured within the last four years, or moved into an apartment, condominium or townhouse since March 1986 that contains them should have the plastic covers inspected for cracks. Consumers without electrical experience should not disassemble the wiring parts for the inspection or for model verification.

If cracks have occurred, consumers should call The Wiremold Company collect at 1-203-523-3689 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time to make arrangements to have the plastic covers of any cracked units replaced free of charge with improved Wiremold models NM2 or NM3. When the new plastic covers are received, only an electrician or other similarly experienced person should remove and replace the cracked covers. If consumers have any unopened products still in the original packaging, they may be sent to The Wiremold Company, P.O. Box 10639, West Hartford, CT 06110-0639, Attn: Al Blake for a full refund of the purchase price including postage.

The CPSC is issuing this warning as part of its mission to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with consumer products. The CPSC is the Federal agency responsible for consumer product safety. Some 15,000 different types of consumer products fall within the Commission's jurisdiction and each year these products are involved in an estimated 30 million injuries and 22,000 deaths.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury and for information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To order a press release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine and enter the release number. Consumers can report product hazards to info@cpsc.gov.

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