U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20207
Office of the Chairman
September 2, 1997
Dear Chief Executive or Utility Manager:
I am writing about an important safety issue that directly affects your customers. Uncoated brass connectors -- used most often with gas ranges, ovens and clothes dryers -- can corrode, leak and cause deadly explosions. I ask that you tell your customers to have a professional remove any such connectors from their homes. Your company has an important responsibility to warn its customers of this danger and to provide incentives that will encourage consumers to seek removal of these connectors.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has information indicating that since 1980 these connectors have been associated with nearly 40 deaths and 65 nonfatal injuries nationwide. There doubtless are additional deaths and injuries that have not come to our attention. Although these connectors are no longer used in new installations, large numbers remain in American homes; as they age, the likelihood that they will kill and injure increases.
Earlier this year, at our staff's urging, the American Gas Association provided its member companies a safety flyer (pdf) for distribution to customers. (I have enclosed a camera-ready copy of this flyer, which the Commission staff developed with input from industry representatives.) The continuing deaths and injuries demonstrate that a renewed effort to warn consumers is needed now -- an effort in which your company ought to play an important role. The Commission is doing its part with additional publicity, including a video news release about the dangers from these connectors to be distributed in the next few days.
I specifically request that your company distribute copies of the enclosed safety flyer (pdf) to its customers. We believe the most effective distribution is by a dedicated mailing in an envelope marked "Important Safety Message From [Your Company Name] Enclosed -- Do Not Discard."
Please call me directly if you have questions about this request. Your staff designee may contact the Office of Hazard Identification and Reduction at (301) 504-7949.
I look forward to learning promptly of your company's willingness to work with the Commission in this important matter.