November 19, 1996


Release # 97-024

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Best International Corp. of Long Island City, N.Y., is recalling approximately 5,000 hand held hair dryers. Since these dryers do not have a full immersion protection plug, they present a risk of electrocution if dropped in water while the dryer is in the "on" position. The hair dryers also present a fire hazard due to inadequate wiring.

Before the use of immersion protection devices, there were an average of 18 electrocutions involving hand-held hair dryers each year. Since the introduction of immersion protection devices for hand-held hair dryers, the number decreased to two electrocution deaths in 1992.

The current voluntary industry standard, which has been in effect since January 1, 1991, requires hand-held hair dryers to provide full immersion protection when either in the "on" or "off" position. The recalled dryers do not have this protection.

CPSC and Best International Corp. are not aware of any injuries involving these hair dryers. This recall is being conducted to prevent the possibility of injury.

The white colored plastic hair dryers come with dryer attachments in a box labelled, "International Hair Styling Set with 7 Attachments...HD-868." The hair dryer has the words "Professional Styler Asbestos Free" printed on it. Retailers in the metropolitan New York area, such as bargain, discount, and $.99 stores, sold these hair dryers from November 1995 to May 1996 for $9.99.

Consumers should stop using the recalled hair dryers immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a full refund. For more information, consumers should call Best International Corp. at (718) 472-0860 from 1 to 5 p.m. EST.

When buying a hair dryer, consumers should look for a large, rectangular-shaped plug at the end of the cord. The certification mark of a recognized testing laboratory should also be visible on the hair dryer or on the hair dryer's packaging. However, even with this improved protection, under no circumstances should consumers use a hair dryer where it could come in contact with water. Electricity and water are a potentially deadly combination.