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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 1997
Release # 97-173
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the halogen lamp industry are cooperatively recalling for in-home consumer repair some 40 million halogen torchiere floor lamps. According to CPSC, the halogen bulbs in these lamps can cause fires. CPSC is aware of at least 189 fires and 11 deaths since 1992 involving halogen torchiere floor lamps. The industry is making free wire guards available to consumers through a cooperative effort with many retail stores. Installing the wire guard over the glass bulb shield will reduce the potential fire hazard by making it harder for flammable materials to touch the lamp's halogen bulb. For the guard to be effective, consumers must use only halogen bulbs of 300 watts or less in the lamp.
Halogen torchiere floor lamps are free-standing lamps with a shallow bowl-shaped light fixture mounted on top of a 6-foot pole and illuminated by a tubular halogen bulb. These lamps first became available in the United States in 1983 and sales have grown significantly in the 1990s. The tubular halogen bulbs operate at temperatures much hotter than regular bulbs, and can pose a fire risk if curtains, clothing, or other flammable materials contact the bulb.
A revised Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard for halogen torchiere floor lamps manufactured after February 5, 1997, offers an improved level of safety. Most halogen torchiere floor lamps meeting the revised UL standard already are equipped with a glass or wire guard over the glass bulb shield to help prevent flammable materials from touching the bulb.
Consumers who own halogen torchiere floor lamps without a glass or wire guard over the glass bulb shield can receive a free wire guard with installation instructions by calling (800) 523-5702 extension 592 or sending postcard to Attention Consumer Services, 18191 NW 68th Avenue, Miami, FL 33015. This program only applies to torchiere floor lamps using halogen bulbs. Remember, for the guard to be effective, consumers must use only halogen bulbs of 300 watts or less in the lamp.
"Although the use of the wire guard with a 300-watt bulb will reduce the potential fire hazard, it is important for consumers to understand that these lamps still must be treated with care," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. Brown offered the following safety tips for halogen torchiere floor lamps:
- Never place the lamp near curtains or other cloth window treatments.
- Never drape clothes over the lamp.
- Keep the lamp away from bedding.
- Never leave the lamp on when you leave a room or are not at home.
- To reduce the likelihood of tipover, keep children and pets away from the lamp.
- Only use a halogen bulb of 300 watts or less in the lamp.
In 1996, CPSC initiated an assessment of the current UL safety standard for portable lamps, including lamps equipped with tubular halogen bulbs. Tests carried out as part of this assessment showed that tubular halogen bulbs of 250 watts, 300 watts, and 500 watts installed in torchiere lamps could start a fire if they come in contact with flammable materials. In July 1996, CPSC announced its findings and issued a warning to consumers about the potential fire hazard associated with using torchiere floor lamps illuminated by tubular halogen bulbs. In the same month, CPSC urged UL to toughen its performance standard for portable lamps. In February 1997, UL adopted a revised performance standard for halogen torchiere floor lamps.
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.
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