January 6, 1975


Release # 75-005

Washington, D.C. --The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today warned consumers, mobile home manufacturers and distributors, and gas companies in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota that a blue colored gas leak detector fluid distributed since 1972 by L.P. Gas Equipment, Inc., St. Paul, Minnesota, can corrode brass fittings and lead to hazardous gas leaks and subsequent fires and explosions.

Any person or company that has used this detector fluid on brass connectors should have the piping inspected immediately for corrosion or discoloration. The connectors should be replaced as quickly as possible.

Consumers in these states who have had gas appliances installed or inspected for leaks since 1972 should contact the company that installed the product or their local gas company for an immediate inspection.

The corrosion problem apparently is due to the presence of ammonia in the fluid.

A common method of installing gas appliances is to use a flexible brass connector to connect the appliance to rigid piping. If a leak detector fluid containing ammonia is used to check for faulty tube fittings, the ammonia residue can cause cracks and leaks in the brass. These cracks can enlarge over time.

The fluid was manufactured by Fremont Industries, Shakopee, Minnesota, for L. P. Gas Equipment, Inc., which sold 1,155 gallons of the solution, in various package sizes, to 117 gas companies.

L. P. Gas has asked its purchasers-- none of whom would be consumers -- to discontinue use of the fluid and to destroy existing stocks.

The Commission obtained the names of these customers by subpoena and is advising them of the serious nature of the hazard. The Commission also is encouraging immediate inspection and replacement of all fittings that may have been treated with the suspect leak detector fluid.

At the same time, the Commission is proceeding with administrative action that could lead to mandatory corrective action by the manufacturer, distributors and retailers of the fluid.

The State of Minnesota, Building Code Division, reported the potential problem of the ammonia containing fluid to the Commission's Minneapolis Area Office in September 1974. The Commission consulted with the National Bureau of Standards in order to confirm that the corrosion damage was, or could have been, caused by the ammonia solution.