Recalls; new CPSC testing center; hair dryer law

By Robin Melen on June 15, 2011 12:01:00 am

Recall-alert-new AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING UNITS About 90,600 GE Zoneline air conditioners and heaters sold by General Electric authorized representatives and HVAC distributors nationwide from March 2010 through March 2011 for between $1,000 and $1,200.
An electrical component in the heating system can fail, posing a fire hazard to consumers. General Electric and Sharp have received four reports of incidents involving smoke and/or fire with the air conditioning and heating units. In two of the reported incidents, fire extended beyond the air conditioning and heating unit, resulting in property damage. No injuries have been reported.
The following models and serials are included in this recall: Model number begins with AZ41, AZ61; Serial number begins with AT, DT, FT, GT, HT, LT, MT, RT, ST, TT, VT and ZT and AV, DV and FV.
IF YOU OWN ONE Contact General Electric at 866-918-8771 or go to to schedule a free repair.

CUTLERY KNIFE BLOCK About 217,000 Calphalon Contemporary Cutlery knife sets sold at Macy's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Belk, Bloomingdales, Crate and Barrel, Dillard's, Kitchen Collection, Cutlery and More, Carlson Marketing, Maritz, Hinda, Calphalon Retail Outlets and stores nationwide; online by Amazon,; and in Chef's Catalog from from 2007 through May 2011 for between $200 and $300.
The tips of the 8- inch slicing knife and/or the 8-inch bread knife can protrude through the bottom slot row on the wooden block holder, posing a laceration hazard. Calphalon has received one report of a cut finger injury.
IF YOU OWN ONE Contact Calphalon at 800-766-5652 for information about getting a free repair kit.

CPSC opens national product testing and evaluation center

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently opened its new state-of-the-art scientific testing facility in Rockville, Md.
     "This center will enhance CPSC's ability to protect families and consumers from harm by expanding CPSC's testing capabilities,” said CPSC Chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum, “increasing the efficiency of agency staff and equipment, and allowing more testing to be done faster."
     Seventy-five agency scientists and engineers will now work together at CPSC's new National Product Testing and Evaluation Center. Previously, they worked at the agency's headquarters in Bethesda, Md. and in nine buildings at the former laboratory site in Gaithersburg, Md.
     The new center has 63,000 sq. ft. of office and lab space. Lab space has increased nearly 250 percent, from just 13,000 sq. ft. at the former lab - to 32,000 sq. ft. in the new center. New equipment, such as an ATV tilt table that will measure ATV road stability, and test chambers to conduct mattress flammability testing and carbon monoxide alarm testing, expands CPSC's in-house testing capabilities.
     Special "green" efforts were made, including diverting more than 50 percent of the construction waste away from landfills, adding efficient plumbing to reduce potable water use by 35 percent and using 95 percent of recycled wood cabinetry from the existing lab. The agency saved millions of dollars in construction and future operations costs by upgrading the previous tenant's HVAC system.
     The National Product Testing and Evaluation Center is located at 5 Research Place in Rockville, Md.

CPSC OKs new safety rule for hair dryers

The CPSC unanimously approved the establishment of a new federal safety rule on hand-supported hair dryers. Hand-supported hair dryers that lack an immersion protection device have been identified by CPSC as posing a substantial product hazard to consumers. The passage of this new rule provides CPSC with more authority to (1) stop shipments of violative hair dryers at U.S. ports of entry, and (2) issue product recalls of violative hair dryers.
     Hand-supported hair dryers typically are used in bathrooms, near water sources, including the sink, bathtub, and lavatory. When there is no immersion protection device present, the uninsulated, electrically energized wires in the hair dryer present a risk of shock and electrocution to consumers.
     Current industry standards require that manufacturers incorporate a device into the hair dryer that prevents shock and/or electrocution hazards when it contacts water. Industry voluntary standards, which require an immersion protection device, have contributed to a significant decline in electrocutions or electrical shock incidents related to immersion or contact with water. The majority of manufacturers and distributors of hand-supported hair dryers comply with these voluntary industry standards.
     The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 provided CPSC with the authority to establish federal safety rules for consumer products that have demonstrated substantial compliance with a voluntary standard or set of guidelines.
     The CPSIA defines a "substantial product hazard," in these circumstances, as a product defect that creates a substantial risk of injury to the public.

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Robin Melen

Robin Melen

Posted at 12:01:00 AM in
Consumer protection | Cooking | Featured | Home & Yard | Recalls | Robin Melen | Safety | Shopping

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12:19:18 PM on Wed Jun 15 2011

I am a subscriber to Shop Smart magazine and I read every page of every issue. Love this magazine. It is a lot cheaper to subscribe than to buy it over the counter.

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