Consumer Product Safety

NITE Alert_68

November 29, 2005

Emergency order issued to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.

It was found that fan-forced heaters manufactured by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. between 1985 and 1992 may leak carbon monoxide. In response to the hazard, on November 29, 2005, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) issued the following emergency order, based on Article 82 of the Consumer Product Safety Law, to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., to take necessary measures in relation to the relevant products, including recalls, inspection, repairs and informing consumers of the carbon monoxide risk of these products.

If you have any of the products that are subject to this emergency order, and they have not yet been inspected or repaired, please contact Matsushita Electric Industry Co., Ltd. immediately for inspection and repair services.

Emergency order issued to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. under Article 82 of the Consumer Product Safety Law

November 29, 2005
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) issued the following emergency order to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., based on Article 82 of the Consumer Product Safety Law, to take necessary measures in relation to the relevant products, including recalls, inspection and repairs and informing consumers of the carbon monoxide risk.

1.Outline of accident

A total of three carbon monoxide poisoning cases, including one fatality related to fan-forced heaters manufactured by Matsushita Electric Industry Co., Ltd. occurred in January, February and April 2005. In response to the fact, the company has launched a recall program following the announcement made on April 21. As of November 24, 55,499 units, equivalent to 36 percent of total unit sales of 152,132, have been recalled.
However, a fourth accident occurred on November 21, resulting in one fatality. It is highly likely that this series of accidents were caused by carbon monoxides leak from cracks in the air supply hose. The Ministry determined that there was a high possibility of similar accidents recurring, and on November 29, 2005, issued an emergency order to the firm, based on Article 82 of the Consumer Product Safety Law, to take necessary measures in relation to the relevant products, including recalls, inspection and repairs and informing consumers of the carbon monoxide risk.

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2.Details of measures

(1)Issue of emergency order (Article 82 of the Consumer Product Safety Law)

1_Products subject to the order

  1. (i) FF type kerosene fan heater manufactured between 1985 and 1991
Model Number: OK-2525,OK-2526,OK-2535,OK2536,OK-3525, OK-3526,OK-3527,OK-3535,OK-3536,OK-3537, OK-4020,OK-4030,OK-2526HA,OK-3527HA,OK-4020HA
  1. (ii) FF type kerosene fan heater manufactured between 1991 and 1992
Model numbers: OK-302B,OK-303B,OK-402B,OK-403B
  1. (iii) Kerosene flat radiant heater manufactured between 1989 and 1991
Model numbers: OK-R500F,OK-R501F,OK-V501F,OK-U501AF,OK-R800C,OK-R800AC

2_Details of emergency order

  1. (i) Product recall or inspection/repair
One of the following measures, (a) or (b), should be taken on recalled products which have not been repaired or inspected since April 2005.
  • a.Products in question should be recalled.
  • b.In addition to exchanging the air hose of the products, any necessary repairs or replacements should be made to prevent leakage of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide into the room.
  1. (ii)Safety alert
Promotion of awareness among users of the products as follows:
  • a.Details of actions taken by Matsushita Electric Industry Co., Ltd. should be notified to the products users. Additionally, the firm must notify the users of the dangers of using the products in question without repair or inspection of the air hose.
  • b.Although Matsushita Electric Industry Co., Ltd. had been calling attention to the hazard since April, the information has not been disseminated to the public sufficiently. In view of the situation, the phrasing, frequency and media used to disseminate the alert should be reviewed, and a more efficient method should be applied.
  1. (iii) Status reporting

Regarding the above mentioned (i) and (ii), Matsushita Electric Industry Co., Ltd. is required to submit a report on actions taken and subsequent schedules by December 6, 2005. In addition, the status of implementation should be reported monthly for one year.

(2)Announcements by METI

The Ministry will also make the following efforts to disseminate the information in order to prevent any recurrence of these accidents.

  • 1_Promote user awareness through press releases and information posted on the METI website.
  • 2_Promote user awareness through Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry, prefectural and city governments, and state institutions, etc.
  • 3_Request interested organizations and such for their assistance and cooperation in facilitating the smooth progress of recalls, inspection and repair activities and alerts issued by Matsushita Electric Industry Co., Ltd.

Reference:
Consumer Product Safety Law (Law No.31 June 6, 1973)
Article 82 (emergency order)
In cases where consumer product defects cause serious harm to the lives or health of the consuming public, or where the danger of such serious harm is imminent, the competent minister may, where it is deemed particularly necessary to prevent the spread of such harm, order the product manufacturer or importer to recall the relevant products and take necessary emergency measures to the extent necessary to prevent the distribution of products that represent a real threat of serious harm to the lives or health of the consuming public, except in cases that are designated by government ordinance.

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Appendix 1

Outline of Carbon Monoxide Intoxication caused
by Matsushita Electric Industries' fan-forced heater

  • 1.On January 5, 2005, an incident occurred at a family-run inn in Ina-mura, Minami Aizu-gun, Fukushima Prefecture. Carbon monoxide leaked from a fan-forced heater (National FF type-fan heater OK-3527), which resulted in one fatality. One person became critically ill and is still in hospital. The accident cause is under investigation by the Fukushima Prefectural Police Department.
  • 2.On February 23, 2005, an incident occurred at a residential house in Chino city in Nagano Prefecture. Two persons suffered carbon monoxide poisoning including one person who was hospitalized for eight days. The accident was caused by a carbon monoxide leak from a crack which had developed on the air supply hose of a fan-forced heater (National FF type-fan heater OK-3527).
  • 3.On April 13, 2005 an incident occurred at a beauty salon in Nagano city in Nagano Prefecture. Three persons suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, including two persons who were hospitalized for a day for medical observation. The accident was caused by a carbon monoxide leak from a crack which had developed on the air supply hose of a fan-forced heater (National FF type-fan heater OK-3527).
  • 4.On November 21, 2005, an incident occurred in a residential house in Ueda city in Nagano Prefecture. One person died of carbon monoxide poisoning and another became critically ill. There was evidence of fan heater use (National FF type-fan heater OK-3537). There was a crack on the air supply hose, which appeared to leak carbon monoxide. The accident cause is under investigation by the Nagano Prefectural Police Department.

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Appendix 2

Product models subject to recall
Product name FF type kerosene fan heater FF type kerosene fan heater Kerosene flat radiant heater
Model number OK-2525 OK-3536
OK-2526 OK-3537
OK-2536 OK-4020
OK-3525 OK-4030
OK-2526HA
OK-3526
OK-3527HA
OK-3527
OK-4020HA
OK-3535
OK-302B
OK-303B
OK-402B
OK-403B
OK-R500F
OK-R501F
OK-V501F
OK-U501AF
OK-R800C
OK-R800AC
Model number display position
Date of manufacture October 1985 to April 1991 April 1991 to January 1992 August 1989 to April 1991

Installation

Relevant products are fitted with air exhaust and supply vents at the back

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Appendix 3

structure outline

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

Contact us

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