Consumer Product Safety

NITE Alert_81

June 18, 2007

Waste Cloth Infiltrated with Coating Material
May Pose Self-ignition Hazard

In 2005, the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE) issued a NITE Alert concerning a fire hazard from waste cloth impregnated with coating materials mainly composed of unsaturated fatty acids (USFA), such as sunflower oil. This is a reminder in response to repeated fire accidents believed to be spontaneous ignition incidents associated with these coating materials.

1. Background

Waste cloths used for wiping off USFA-based coating materials, which had been left in bags, caused fires which are believed to be spontaneous ignition incidents. USFA contained in these coating materials characteristically generate heat in the process of oxidation. It is believed that fire/smoke occurred after leaving the cloths in a bag for many hours, which allowed the heat from oxidation to accumulate.

Accident details

Case 1:
A garbage bag spontaneously caught fire. In the bag was a waste cloth used for wiping off coating materials for wall painting. The fire was detected early before it spread, and damage was limited to a scorched wall. (November 2004, Koshinetsu district)
Case 2:
A cardboard box in a kitchen caught fire about 24 hours after a bag containing a towel which had been used for wiping off coating materials was placed inside, causing fire damaged to the kitchen. (November 2004, Kansai district)
Case 3:
A plastic bag containing a mop and a wipe used for waxing the floor with coating material generated smoke. (January 2005, Chubu district)
Case 4:
Fire broke out in a warehouse, partially destroying the complex. Waste cloths impregnated with cleaning materials had been kept near the point of origin of the fire inside the warehouse. (May 2007, Chugoku district)
Case 5:
A hemp sack caught fire, resulting in damage to a work site. The sack contained waste cloth use for wiping the coating material. (May 2007, Kanto district)

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2. Safety tips for consumers

Read warnings and instructions and use the product accordingly.

The product containers have labels indicating the cautions below.

  • 1)Spontaneous ignition warning: Waste cloths impregnated with the coating material may cause spontaneous ignition. Such waste cloths must be incinerated or disposed of in a container with water.
  • 2)Read the on-product label and manual carefully, and follow the instructions.

    a video clip

    about the ignition test of waste cloth infiltrated with coating material.

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