|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|May 16, 1984|
|Release # 84-032|
Washington, D. C. -- In cooperation with the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Robertshaw Controls Company, Richmond, Virginia, today announced a further expansion of its ongoing program to recover Unitrol 110 and 200 liquid propane (LP) gas water heater control valves by offering $50 cash and free replacement to homeowners who identify them in their homes.
These valves, which were manufactured during the period of December 1954 through March 1957, may be involved in severe burn injuries and death resulting from explosion and fires. Since 1957, 48 deaths and 89 serious injuries involving water heaters using these controls have occurred. Although the controls are almost thirty years old, there is no practical way to estimate how many remain in use.
In addition to the expanded notification efforts to recover the controls, the Commission and Robertshaw also announced the settlement of the Commission's pending action for a civil penalty against Robertshaw filed in Federal district court in Richmond, Virginia. The action was based on an allegation that Robertshaw had failed to comply with its obligation under Section 15 of the Consumer Product Safety Act to file an accurate report with the Commission concerning the controls. Robertshaw has agreed to pay the Commission $90,000 in settlement of the action.
The CPSC voted unanimously to accept the corrective action plan. The CPSC voted 3 to 1 to accept the monetary settlement, with Commissioner Stuart M. Statler dissenting (dissent attached).
In addition expanding its program to work with liquid propane dealers and service people to recover and replace affected controls, Robertshaw is now offering a $50 bounty to any user of LP gas who identifies the affected control value in their home, as well as a free replacement of it.
Robertshaw is also commencing a notification effort through trade publications to further alert professionals who service or install LP-fueled water heaters to return to Robertshaw the controls they find instead of reusing them on other water heaters. Robertshaw is also continuing to pay these professionals a finder's fee for affected controls which are returned.
Affected controls include Unitrol models 110 and 200, showing any date code which include the letters W or X, or the letter combinations LV, AY, BY or CY. Consumers can identify the affected units by looking for "Unitrol 110" on the face of the control or "Unitrol 200" on the temperature dial on the front of the control. The contsols located near the bottom of the water heater. Date codes are stamped next to the gas pilot outlet, which is located on the bottom side of the control and to the right. Use of a small mirror will aid consumers in reading the date code more easily.
Consumers who own LP gas water heaters should check the heater control to determine if a Unitrol Model 110 or 200 with a.date code mentioned above has been used. If so, consumers should not attempt to remove or check the operation . of the controls themselves but rather should contact Robertshaw at its toll-free numbers 1-800-421-1130. In California call l-800-262-1173.
Anyone wishing to verify the model numbers or the brand name should contact CPSC's toll-free Hotline at 800-638-CPSC. The teletypewriter number for the hearing impaired is (301) 595-7054.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product 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 deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
For lifesaving information:
Please use the below phone number for all media requests.
Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800