Articles Tagged with “defective products”

20141027_airbagThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded the Takata airbag recall by 3.3 million vehicles. The question now is how many more recalls are ahead?

So many drivers have been impacted. To date, 34 million vehicles have been recalled, according to the NHTSA website. USA Today reports the airbags are now responsible for at least 20 deaths, while injuring 180 others. Millions of other drivers have had to wait out a slow replacement process.

The U.S. Department of Justice fined Takata $1 billion early last year. Because there are so many defective airbags, the NHTSA plans to issue phased recalls through December 31, 2019. Older vehicles and those in hot and humid states have received the highest priority. The schedule is designed to repair vehicles before the chemical in the inflator starts to break down.

20141124_holidayshopping.jpgReady or not, the holiday shopping season begins in earnest this week. Enjoy shopping for loved ones, but remember to buy with caution, especially when selecting toys and products used by young children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled millions of unsafe toys this year, and also many of the most basic children’s products, including car seats, strollers and furniture. Shoppers should closely examine every purchase. Here are a few holiday shopping tips:

Check for recalls. Search the CPSC database to see if a specific product has been recalled. You can also search by company.

Here are some of the important ones to remember:

Graco Recalls. Graco recalled millions of car seats earlier this year because of sticky-buckles which were trapping children in the seats. Just last week, it also recalled 4.7 million defective strollers which can cause finger amputation. Graco recalled the 11 stroller models after 10 fingertip amputations and one finger laceration. The strollers were sold from 2010 until earlier this month at a number of retailers, including Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, Amazon.com and Walmart.com. Read the recall notice.

Furniture Recalls. Common home furniture also caused child injuries this year. In August, Ace Bayou recalled 2.2 million bean bag chairs after two children unzipped them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. Anyone with one of these defective chairs should call the company for a repair kit to disable the zipper.

Another serious recall impacted in Massachusetts. Earlier in the year, Lane furniture renewed its recall of wooden cedar chests after two children in Franklin became trapped in one and suffocated. The children had apparently been playing hide-and-seek and became locked inside. The company first recalled the chests in 1996, but millions of the defective chests are believed to still be in use without the necessary repair.

In the Massachusetts case, the children’s family is believed to have bought the used chest at a second-hand store more than a decade ago. Second-hand sales are challenging to regulate, as are families and friends who pass along used products to each other. This makes it important to know the characteristics of an unsafe product as well as specific products which have been recalled.

Buy age-appropriate. Read the age recommendation on toys and children’s products. Consider a child’s family. If you are buying for a child with younger siblings, buy something which is safe for all ages in the household.

Be careful buying online. After a product is recalled, it is against the law to sell it in stores or online. But some auction and online listing websites do not police private sellers closely. Avoid these sites when holiday shopping for children.

If you purchase through a merchant website such as Amazon.com, make sure you receive the right product and that it has the same age appropriate label and pieces as shown online.

Beware of suffocation and choking hazards. Avoid balloons, marbles and toys with small pieces which children can put in their mouth. Also avoid small magnets. Remember these things come with many toys, but they also come from other gifts and products that enter a home. For instance, the magnet desk sets which were so popular many years ago for adults turned out to be extremely dangerous for children. In some cases with the Buckyball magnet sets (which have been recalled), children found small magnets years after families brought the set into their home in hard-to-reach places, such as under a couch. Our point is: Please consider every gift carefully.
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More than two million bean bag chairs have been recalled after heartbreaking accidents in which children suffocated and died.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced last week that Ace Bayou Corp. of New Orleans, Louisiana has voluntary recalled 2.2 million bean bag chairs, including both traditional and L-shaped bean bag chairs.

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The bean bag chairs have zippers which can easily be opened, a violation of the CPSC’s voluntary standard. Children can crawl inside, become entrapped and suffocate from lack of air or choke on the chair’s foam beads.

Prompting the recall were the deaths of a 12-year-old boy from Texas and a 3-year-old girl from Kentucky. The children were found inside bean bag chairs after suffocating. The boy’s mother told the media that the bean bag chair had been in her son’s room for years and she never thought he would climb inside.

The CPSC instructs consumers to check for these bean bag chairs in their homes. For the full list of recalled models, see the end of this blog.

The chairs have two zippers. Consumers can contact Ace Bayou for a free repair kit to permanently disable the zippers. Consumers should take chairs which can be unzipped away from children.

The defective products were sold at Bon-Ton, Meijer, Pamida, School Speciality, Wayfair and Walmart and online at Amazon.com, Meijer.com and Walmart.com. They were sold prior to July 2013 for $30-$100.

Another option is to simply remove these products from your home altogether. Call Ace Bayou and ask them how to safely dispose the product. (Remember, you should never give someone a recalled product or resell it to anyone. Reselling a recalled product is against federal law.)

Bean bag chairs have a history of injuring children. In the 1990s, the CPSC received reports that 5 children died from suffocation inside bean bag chairs and 27 were injured but recovered. It then launched an industry investigation and recalled 12 million bean bag chairs. More than a dozen manufacturers were involved in that recall effort.

More Recall Information

CPSC Recall Notice

Ace Bayou Recall Page
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cranberries_web.jpgAs the Christmas season begins, one Massachusetts company remains bogged down in Thanksgiving, after issuing a recall for its popular dried cranberry snacks.

The day after Thanksgiving, Ocean Spray of Middleboro issued a recall for four package sizes of its Original Flavor Craisins Dried Cranberries product. The company voluntarily recalled the snack because of the possibility packages contained small hair-like metal fragments. The metal fragments resulted from an equipment malfunction on a production line, a company official told Vitals, an MSNBC.com blog.

Ocean Spray said it has received no consumer complaints or injury reports. Dried cranberry snacks are a growing product line for Ocean Spray. Last summer, a company official told the New England Business Bulletin that it was planning to expand its Middleboro facility and produce a third dried cranberry product.

The following Ocean Spray Original Flavor Craisins Dried Cranberries are part of this product recall:

  • 5 oz Craisins® UPC: 00293-000
  • 10 oz Craisins® UPC: 29456-000 and 29464-000
  • 48 oz Craisins® UPC: 00678-318
  • 10 lb bulk ingredient & foodservice UPC: 03477-000

Click here to see the full list with production dates for the recalled products.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled products are advised to discard them and preserve the UPC label and best by date. They should contact the Ocean Spray Consumer Hotline at 1-800-662-3263 for a coupon replacement.
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escalator.jpgA recent public records request made by the Boston Globe shows the state has failed to regularly inspect approximately 75 percent of the escalators in Massachusetts malls.

From 2008 to 2010, only 44 of the state’s 188 mall escalators received annual inspections as required by law. Inspectors missed one or two inspections during those three years on 144 escalators.

When mall escalators were inspected, they needed repairs in more than half the cases. Mall escalators were shut down 22 times.

The newspaper made the public records request following the wrongful death of 4-year-old Mark DiBona last month in an escalator accident in a Sears department store at the Auburn Mall near Worcester. The child fell through a 6-inch-wide gap between the handrail and the glass barrier.

The state Department of Public Safety suspended the two inspectors who approved the defective escalator for use.

The state’s failure to inspect its escalators dates back at least 15 years. In 1995, the Globe reported that nearly 40 percent of the state’s escalators and elevators had expired inspections.

The state currently has 34,000 elevators and 900 escalators for 51 inspectors to examine. Two dozen of those positions were created in 2010, the same year an audit found that nearly a third of the state’s elevators and escalators had expired inspections. Fifty one inspectors is the most the state has had in years, though some specialists say they still carry a heavy workload.

Beyond staffing, some specialists in the field say that inspectors spend more time on elevators and are less experienced with escalators, which may contribute to escalator accidents in Massachusetts.

Boston personal injury lawyer David White on the findings: “It is encouraging that the state is now catching up on the backlog of inspections. What is discouraging, however, is how many violations they are finding. This is a strong indication that property owners and their own service companies may be putting the public at severe risk.”

To read the Boston Globe article reporting this data, click here.
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laskofan.jpgLasko Products, Inc. has recalled 4.8 million box fans in Massachusetts and across the country after receiving seven reports of fires associated with motor failures, including two house fires and one barn fire.

No injuries have been reported, but the fires resulted in extensive property damage.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the defective product posed a hazard due to an electrical failure in the fan’s motor.

The defective units have “Galaxy” and “Lasko” printed on the front of the fan. They were sold nationwide from July 2002 through December 2005 for $12 to $15. The defective fans were sold at a number of mass merchandisers. Click here to visit Lasko’s website for the model numbers of the defective fans.

The West Chester, Pennsylvania company said consumers should stop using the product and call (877) 445-1314 for a free replacement fused plug safety adapter.
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced that Daniele International, with operations in Rhode Island, has recalled 1,240,000 lbs of ready-to-eat Italian sausage products currently in commerce due to risk of salmonella contamination. The recalled products include salami coated with black pepper.

The recall is the result of a multi-agency investigation into a salmonella breakout in several states. While searching for the defective food agent causing the outbreak, FSIS discovered a strain of salmonella in a Daniele International sample product.  The tested product is similar to what people reported eating prior to becoming ill, but a direct link has not been established. 

The strain of salmonella found in the tested product does not match the strain being investigated.   In addition to recalling the ready-to-eat products, Daniele International presented information to FSIS and voluntarily recalled all products in commerce associated with black pepper, which the company believes is a possible source of contamination. 

Eating products contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses.  The symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominable cramps, and fever within 8 to 72 hours of comsumption.  Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting for up to a week.  Salmonella infections can be life-threatening to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy.

The specific products recalled all carry a USDA mark of inspection bearing establishment numbers “EST. 9992” or “EST. 54.”.  The following products can be returned to the retailer for a full refund:

  • 10-ounce packages of “DANIELE NATURALE SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER.”
  • Catch weight packages of “DANIELE PEPPER SALAME.”
  • 9-ounce packages of “BLACK BEAR OF THE BLACK FOREST BABY GENOA PEPPER SALAME.”
  • 20-ounce packages of “DANIELE DELI SELECTION, GENOA SALAME, SMOKED SALAME, PEPPERED SALAME, RUSTIC SALAME.”
  • 340- and 454-gram packages of “DANIELE SURTIDO FINO ITALIANO, SALAMI GENOA CON PIMIENTA, LOMO CAPOCOLLO, SALAMI CALABRESE.”
  • 16-ounce packages of “DANIELE ITALIAN BRAND GOURMET PACK, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, HOT CAPOCOLLO.”
  • 8-ounce packages of “DIETZ & WATSON ARTISAN COLLECTION PARTY PLATTER PACK, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, HOT CAPOCOLLO.”
  • 8-ounce packages of “DANIELE ITALIAN BRAND GOURMET PACK, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, HOT CAPOCOLLO.”
  • 16-ounce packages of “DANIELE GOURMET COMBO PACK, PEPPER SALAME, CAPOCOLLO, CALABRESE.”
  • 500-gram packages of “DANIELE ITALIAN BRAND GOURMET PACK EMBALLAGE ASSORTI GOURMET ITALIEN, HOT CALABRESE, PEPPER SALAME, CALABRESE PIQUANT, SALAMI AU POIVRE, HOT CAPOCOLLO, CAPOCOLLO PIQUANT.”
  • 8-ounce packages of “BOAR’S HEAD BRAND ALL NATURAL SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER.”
  • Catch weight packages of “DIETZ & WATSON ARTISAN COLLECTION, BABY GENOA PEPPER SALAME, MADE WITH 100% PORK COATED WITH BLACK PEPPER AND PORK FAT.”
  • 20-ounce variety packages of “DANIELE DELI SELECTION, GENOA SALAME, SWEET SOPRESSATA, PEPPERED GENOA, MILANO SALAME.”
  • 21-ounce variety packages of “DANIELE GOURMET ITALIAN DELI SELECTION, SWEET SOPRESSATA SALAMI, PEPPERED GENOA SALAMI, HOT SOPRESSATA SALAMI, MILANO SALAMI, SALAMI SOPRESSATA DOUX, SALAMI GENOA POIVRÉ, SALAMI SOPRESSATA PIQUANT, SALAMI MILANO.”
  • 7-ounce packages of “DANIELE SALAME BITES PEPPER SALAME.”
  • 14-ounce packages of “DANIELE GOURMET ITALIAN DELI SELECTION ASSORTMENT DE FINES CHARCUTERIE ITALIENNE, SWEET SOPRESSATA SALAMI, MILANO SALAMI, SALAMI SOPRESSATA DOUX, SALAMI MILANO.”
  • Catch weight packages of “DANIELE NATURALE SALAME COATED WITH COARSE BLACK PEPPER.”
  • 32-ounce variety packages of “DANIELE DELI SELECTION, GENOA SALAME, SWEET SOPRESSATA, PEPPERED GENOA, MILANO SALAME.”
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    For more information on the on-going investigation into the multi-state salmonella investigation, see the Center for Disease Control’s website.  For a list of retailers that sold recalled products, see the FSIS recall website.  Consumers with questions about food safety can ask a virtual FSIS representative on the Ask Karen website.  Live chat services are available Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (except Federal Holidays).

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    Toyota has issued another recall affecting millions of its popular vehicles due to acceleration problems caused by sticking gas pedals which are known to have caused serious personal injury and several deaths. In addition, Toyota has halted sales and will halt production of several product lines until it designs a fix for the product defect. This recall seriously affects Toyota’s reputation for safety and reliability. It also affects tens of thousands of Massachusetts drivers who own the defective Toyotas. It also affects others on the highway who may be struck by a runaway vehicle.

    Toyota announced the voluntary recall last Thursday, which includes about 2.3 million vehicles, “to correct sticking accelerator pedals on specific Toyota Division models.”  The sticking pedals may fail to return, or return slowly, to the idle position, causing the cars to accelerate or maintain a high speed unexpectedly.

    The recall comes after a recall on floor mats in September 2009 affecting 3.8 million vehicles. That recall was found to be insufficient to solve the accelerator problems. Investigators realized the product defect included more than just the floor mats after a family of four suffered wrongful deaths when their Avalon crashed into a lake. The floor mats were discovered in the trunk of that car.

    In November 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) called the removal of the offending floor mats an interim measure only, and said, “This remedy does not correct the underlying defect in the vehicles involving the potential for entrapment of the accelerator by floor mats, which is related to accelerator and floor pan design.”

    Unfortunately, Toyota has not yet proposed a plan to fix its millions of defective vehicles.

    Massachusetts consumers who experience gas pedal problems are advised to apply firm pressure to the brake, and to pull off the road as soon as that can be done safely. The car should not be driven. In an emergency, the car can be put into neutral or the key turned to off. Push-button start controls can be turned off if the button is depressed for several seconds.

    Models affected by the recall include:

    • 2009-2010 RAV4
    • 2009-2010 Corolla
    • 2007-2010 Camry
    • 2009-2010 Matrix
    • 2005-2010 Avalon
    • 2010 Highlander
    • 2007-2010 Tundra
    • 2008-2010 Sequoia.

    Toyota customers affected by this recall should call the Toyota “Customer Experience Center” at 1-800-331-4331 with questions or concerns.

     

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    maclaren stroller.jpgThe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of over one million stroller manufactured by Maclaren. The concern: The defective product may cause personal injury to the child riding in the stroller. At least 15 serious injuries have been reported, and 12 of these have been fingertip amputations.

    The recall affects all Maclaren strollers manufactured since 1999, including all single and double strollers. They popular baby strollers have been sold at Target, Babies “R” Us and other mass merchandisers.

    Parents should immediately stop using the strollers and obtain a free repair kit from the manufacturer.

    For additional information, contact Maclaren USA toll-free at (877) 688-2326 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at www.maclaren.us/recall.

    There is additional information at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as well. Visit the government website.

    David White, a product liability attorney at the Boston firm Breakstone, White & Gluck, PC, said, “Unfortunately, we are familiar with this type of product defect. Obviously a manufacturer of baby products must anticipate injuries that can come from pinch points from hinges and other moving parts. They must be extraordinarily careful to prevent injuries from their products.”

    As reported in Time Magazine: “This is a very serious hazard,” says Scott Wilson, spokesperson for the CPSC. “We know child behavior, we know kids like to explore and sometimes put their fingers in places where they shouldn’t be. But finger amputations that result from using a product that parents expect to be safe is unacceptable.”
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    In what will be the largest recall in the history of Toyota Motor Corp., the company will be recalling 3.8 million defective motor vehicles because of defective floor mats. The defective mats may cause the accelerator to jam, and may lead to serious accident.

    Toyota has recommended that for several Camry, Avalon, Prius, Tacoma, Tundra and Lexus models the driver’s side removable mat be removed from the car immediately and not replaced until the company issues a fix.

    According to the Washington Post, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called this an “urgent matter,” and has strongly urged owners to “remove mats and other obstacles that could lead to unintended acceleration.”

    One recent spectacular car crash has been blamed on the defective mats. In August 2009, a California family was traveling in a 2009 Lexus ES 350 when the car’s accelerator became stuck. The runaway vehicle could not be stopped, and reached a speed of 120 mph before crashing, rolling off the highway, and catching fire. All four family members were killed.

    Toyota has also issued instructions on how to disable the vehicle if the accelerator becomes jammed. A driver should use both feet on the brake to slow the car and slip the gear shift into neutral. The key should be turned to accessory (not to lock, otherwise steering will be lost). In a push-button ignition, holding the button for three seconds will kill the engine. 

    More Information

    For more information, consumers can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety
    Administration’s hotline at (888) 327-4236, Toyota at (800) 331-4331 or Lexus at
    (800) 255-3987. 

    Toyota to recall 3.8M vehicles over floor mats, Washington Post, September 30, 2009.

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