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Honeywell Consumer Products Agrees to Pay $800,000 for Delay in Reporting Defective Humidifiers, Ceramic Heaters, and Baseboard Heaters

Release Date: October 31, 2001

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Honeywell Consumer Products Inc. (HCP), of Southborough, Mass, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $800,000. The penalty settles allegations that Duracraft Corp. failed to report to the CPSC in a timely manner incidents associated with its humidifiers, ceramic heaters, and baseboard heaters as required by the Consumer Product Safety Act. Honeywell Inc. acquired Duracraft Corp. in May 1996, which later became HCP d/b/a Duracraft Corp.

The CPSC alleges that Duracraft began to receive in 1990 complaints about the ceramic heaters smoking or flaming. In December 1995, Duracraft began to receive reports from consumers who observed that the baseboard heaters were smoking or flaming. As of February 1996, Duracraft had notice of at least 33 incidents involving overheating in the ceramic heater, as well as 68 reports of humidifiers emitting smoke, sparks, or catching on fire. In November 1996, a 6- year-old child died during a fire, which CPSC attributes to a failed humidifier.

Duracraft's product tests on several failed ceramic heater units, conducted between May 1996 and June 1997, confirmed the units could fail. Duracraft's testing in February 1996 on the failed baseboard heaters revealed that low fan speeds were causing the failures. Duracraft was aware of failures of the humidifier's safety device, beginning in 1993.

CPSC charges that prior to the acquisition, Duracraft Corp. failed to report these fire hazards to the CPSC. In addition, CPSC charges that after the acquisition, HCP also failed to report to the CPSC in a timely manner.

In agreeing to settle this matter, HCP denies the CPSC's allegations and denies that it violated the Consumer Product Safety Act or any other laws administered by the CPSC.

In cooperation with CPSC, in 1997 and 1998 Duracraft recalled about 1 million humidifiers, 50,000 baseboard heaters, and over 1.6 million ceramic heaters. The humidifiers subject to the recall are model DH-901 through DH-904 units with date codes that fall within the range of 900101 to 941231 and all model DH-3001 through DH-3006 units. The model number and, if applicable, date code are located on a sticker on the bottom of each humidifier's base. The model CZ-520 Space Saver baseboard heaters' exterior housing is constructed of white thermoplastic and a black steel grill, and has two heating control knobs on the right side. The word "Duracraft" is written in gray on the top, right side of the unit. The model number, CZ-520, is located under the words "Made in China" on a silver sticker on the bottom of the heater. The ceramic heaters were sold under the Duracraft and DeLonghi brand names. Duracraft models CZ-303, CZ-304, CZ-308, CZ-318, CZ-319, and DeLonghi model CER-1 are subject to the recall. The model number is located on a silver sticker on the bottom of the heater.

For more information about the three recalls, contact HCP at (800) 431-2165.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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