Consumer Product Safety

NITE Alert_64

February 18, 2005

Alert - Spontaneous ignition of
a rag impregnated with coating materials

The National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE) has received two reports on spontaneous ignition cases which occurred in November 2004, which are believed to have been caused by a rag used for wiping sunflower seed oil based coating materials for wood.
There is information that the sales volume of these kinds of natural vegetable oil based- coating materials is increasing because consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about “sick building syndrome" and are more nature oriented.
Accident details are currently under investigation at NITE. Although these products themselves are not harmful as they are made of similar components as those used in vegetable oils, it is presumed that rags or fabrics soaked with the coating material spontaneously ignited in garbage bags due to exposure to air, which generated heat from oxidation.

(Similar circumstances to “Tempura" cooking oil fires)

In view of the situation, NITE has issued this alert as a preventive measure,
to provide information on accident circumstances and draw consumer attention to this matter.

1.Outline of incidents

< Case 1 >
A rag left in a garbage bag after being used for wiping off the coating material caught fire spontaneously. Because the fire was detected early, it only scorched a wall.
< Case 2 >
A cardboard box in the kitchen caught fire about 24 hours after putting a plastic bag with a towel inside, causing fire damage to the kitchen. The towel was used for wiping off the coating material.

Back to top

2. Safety precautions

The product containers have labels indicating the cautions below. Always pay attention to the following points in order to prevent accidents.

Spontaneous ignition warning:
Waste cloths impregnated with coating materials may pose a spontaneous ignition risk.
Such waste cloths must be incinerated or disposed in a vessel containing water.
  1. (1) Be sure to read the warnings and manuals, and handle the product according to the precautions.
  2. (2) Waste cloths impregnated with coating material should be incinerated or soaked thoroughly in water prior to disposal.

Fore more information;
National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE)
Product Safety Technology Center, Product Safety Investigation Division

Contact us

 Risk Analysis and Public Relations Division  Product Safety Technology Center  National Institute of Technology and Evaluation
Phone number:+81-6-6612-2066
Fax number:+81-6-6612-1617
Address:1-22-16, Nankokita, Suminoe-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 559-0034 Japan MAP