The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to propose a ban of the manufacture, distribution, and sale of aluminized polyester film kites. The Commission had previously found that these products present a substantial product hazard. The proposed ban would apply to any kite containing 10 inches or more of this type of metalized material, including dragon, box and fighter kites.
The kites are conductive of electricity and are susceptible to becoming entangled in electric power lines and, therefore, present an electrical hazard.
The Commission's action was prompted by reports of incidents involving these kites, including two incidents occurring in San Francisco in 1975. An aluminized polyester film kite had become entangled in a power line. It caused two 12,000 volt conductors to break and fall on a car. The live conductors burned a hole in the rear seat of the car and burn marks were found on the tires and wheels.
In the other incident, an aluminized polyester film kite which had apparently severed its string, crossed three high voltage conductors, causing them to break and fall. This resulted in a power surge into nearby residences. This surge blew a fuse box off the wall, exploded an electric meter and light fixture and burned out a refrigerator compressor.
No injuries or deaths related to the aluminized polyester film kites were reported in these incidents nor have any been reported since that time. However, the Commission believes that the kites present a potential threat of serious injury or death.
The Commission does not believe that there are many affected kites presently on the market or in consumers' hands, but the action is intended to prevent such products from being marketed in the future.
The proposed ban will be published shortly in the Federal Register for a 60-day comment period. The proposed effective date is 30 days after the final regulation is published in the Federal Register. When issued as a final regulation, the ban will require manufacturers to repurchase the banned kites.
Comments should be sent to: The Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207.
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