August 21, 1997
Release # 97-173
|CPSC: Jane Francis
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1187
CPSC and Industry Announce Corrective Action to
Improve Safety of Halogen Torchiere Floor Lamps
WASHINGTON, D.C. -
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the halogen lamp industry are
cooperatively recalling for in-home consumer repair some 40 million halogen torchiere
floor lamps. According to CPSC, the halogen bulbs in these lamps can cause fires. CPSC is
aware of at least 189 fires and 11 deaths since 1992 involving halogen torchiere floor
lamps. The industry is making free wire guards available to consumers through a
cooperative effort with many retail stores. Installing the wire guard over the glass bulb
shield will reduce the potential fire hazard by making it harder for flammable materials
to touch the lamp's halogen bulb. For the guard to be effective, consumers must use only
halogen bulbs of 300 watts or less in the lamp.
Halogen torchiere floor lamps are free-standing
lamps with a shallow bowl-shaped light fixture mounted on top of a 6-foot pole and
illuminated by a tubular halogen bulb. These lamps first became available in the United
States in 1983 and sales have grown significantly in the 1990s. The tubular halogen bulbs
operate at temperatures much hotter than regular bulbs, and can pose a fire risk if
curtains, clothing, or other flammable materials contact the bulb.
A revised Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard
for halogen torchiere floor lamps manufactured after February 5, 1997, offers an improved
level of safety. Most halogen torchiere floor lamps meeting the revised UL standard
already are equipped with a glass or wire guard over the glass bulb shield to help prevent
flammable materials from touching the bulb.
Consumers who own halogen torchiere floor lamps
without a glass or wire guard over the glass bulb shield can receive a free wire guard
with installation instructions from the following retail stores, which are helping the
industry make the guards available to consumers: Ames, B.J.'s Wholesale Club,
Hechingers/Home Quarters, Home Base, Home Depot, Ikea, Kmart, Lowes, Montgomery Ward,
Office Depot, Target, and Walmart. The guards will be available in all stores by August
25. Consumers should not return the lamps to the retail stores.
If consumers cannot get to a store, they can
receive the guard by calling (800) 985-2220. This program only applies to torchiere floor
lamps using halogen bulbs. Remember, for the guard to be effective, consumers must use
only halogen bulbs of 300 watts or less in the lamp.
"Although the use of the wire guard with a
300-watt bulb will reduce the potential fire hazard, it is important for consumers to
understand that these lamps still must be treated with care," said CPSC Chairman Ann
Brown. Brown offered the following safety tips for halogen torchiere floor lamps:
- Never place the lamp near curtains or other cloth
- Never drape clothes over the lamp.
- Keep the lamp away from bedding.
- Never leave the lamp on when you leave a room or
are not at home.
- To reduce the likelihood of tipover, keep children
and pets away from the lamp.
- Only use a halogen bulb of 300 watts or less in the
In 1996, CPSC initiated an assessment of the
current UL safety standard for portable lamps, including lamps equipped with tubular
halogen bulbs. Tests carried out as part of this assessment showed that tubular halogen
bulbs of 250 watts, 300 watts, and 500 watts installed in torchiere lamps could start a
fire if they come in contact with flammable materials. In July 1996, CPSC announced its
findings and issued a warning to consumers about the potential fire hazard associated with
using torchiere floor lamps illuminated by tubular halogen bulbs. In the same month, CPSC
urged UL to toughen its performance standard for portable lamps. In February 1997, UL
adopted a revised performance standard for halogen torchiere floor lamps.
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 email@example.com.