Homelite Mighty Lite Backpack Blower Recall
In November 2009, a voluntary recall of 85,000 Homelite Mightly Lite Backpack Blowers was announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Homelite Consumer Products, Inc. The defective blowers have a fuel tank that can leak gasoline on consumers and pose a fire hazard.
The recall affects red and black Mighty Lite backpack blowers with model number UT08580 and manufacturing date codes ATK1820001 through ATK 3659999, as well as model number UT08580A with manufacturing date codes ATL1530001 through ATL3669999 and ATM0010001 through ATM1749999. Products with a green dot on the outside of the package or the letters “CA” embossed on the fuel tank are not affected by the recall.
Homelite received 18 incident reports of leaking fuel tanks, including one report of skin irritation. The blowers were sold at Home Depot stores, Direct Tools Factory Outlets, CPO Homelite, Gardner, Tap Enterprises, Isla Supply, and Heartland American stores nationwide from September 2007 through October 2009.
The company instructs customers to stop using these products immediately and contact Homelite or the closest dealer to get a free fuel tank replacement.
Ladders are portable systems of steps or rungs utilized to provide temporary access to otherwise inaccessible points or places. They have been used by man for over 10,000 years, as evidenced by cave paintings discovered in Spain.
Ladders can be rigid, such as those used for the painting of high walls and ceilings, or rope, such as those used over the side of a boat or for emergency escape through windows. Rigid ladders are safer and easier to use, as rope ladders tend to swing forward and back during use, requiring some skill and strength to safely navigate. Rigid ladders were originally designed and constructed in wood, but modern versions are primarily aluminum due to its lighter weight and durability.
General hazards associated with the use of ladders include:
- Falls from ladders
- Being struck by falling ladders
- Being struck by materials from falling ladders
- Tripping over ladders – whether erect or out of use
- Lifting of ladders
- Striking of persons or objects while carrying a ladder
- Contact with electrical equipment
Manufacturer defects and design deficiencies contribute to ladder injuries and death in some cases. Some examples of concerns include:
- Metal ladders conduct electricity and pose risk of shock or electrocution
- Locks may not fully engage the ladder into position, causing a fall
- Wood or other ladder construction material may crack or split, causing instability or breakage
- Loose steps or rungs
- Loose nails, screws, bolts, or other metal parts
- Slivers on uprights, rungs, or steps
- Ineffective non-slip bases or rungs
- Loose hinges
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries per year related to the use of ladders. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) attributes about 175,000 emergency room visits per year to ladder use.
According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, over 2.2 million people were injured in ladder accidents between 1990 and 2005. About 10 percent of those injuries required hospitalization. Ninety seven percent of ladder injuries occur during home use. The most typically seen injuries are fractures of the hands, feet, wrists and ankles, which often require multiple surgeries and long periods of rehabilitation. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 300 people die each year from ladder injuries.
- In 1988, Maxton Industries and Cox Furniture recalled their convertible ladder chair sold through several catalog companies when 24 incidents and 13 injuries were reported due to splitting of the wood and other related defects. Over a three-year period, 4,500 units had been sold.
- Creative Playthings recalled a children’s indoor gym ladder in 1982 when a two year-old boy strangled himself to death on the ladder. Over 239,000 of the ladders were sold in the United States.
- In 1993, Delair Group recalled 7,500 “A” frame pool ladders after 10 reports of lacerations, scrapes and severed tendon in children.
- Super Young Industrial Company recalled over one million two-step ladders in 1992 after multiple reports that the ladders’ collapse and breakage caused lacerations, broken bones, muscle strains and back injuries.
- LB International recalled 1,500 aluminum multi-purpose ladders in 2004 due to reports of bending and collapse of the ladders, including from one report from a consumer who suffered a fractured leg.
Lawn mowers are machines that cut grass through the use of a rotating blade. The two primary types of lawn mowers, reel and rotary, are differentiated by the angle of their blade’s rotation. Reel mowers have blades that rotate on a horizontal axis and are either engine operated, pulled behind a tractor or run strictly on the power of the user. Rotary mower blades rotate on a vertical axis through high speed engine power and are easier to operate. Most residential lawns are maintained using rotary mowers.
Rotary mowers, the more technologically advanced type of grass cutting machines, are powered in multiple ways:
- Gasoline: The majority of mowers used today are powered using two-stroke or four-stroke cycle, liquid fuel, internal combustion engines. An alternative to walk-behind push mowers, riding mowers are very popular for larger lawns. The riding mower provides a seat and an automobile-like control system for the driver to ride upon, steer and maneuver vast spaces of grass.
- Corded Electric: Easier to use on small lawns due to the limited distance of cord reach, these electric mowers simply plug into an available power outlet.
- Battery: Using 12-volt rechargeable batteries, these lawn mowers offer great maneuverability similar to gasoline-operated versions, but are clean-running like electrics.
- Hover: Powered through a turbine above spinning blades that drive air downward and create a hover effect that lifts the mower off the ground, hover mowers run on electricity. They are not as effective as other varieties of lawn mowing machines.
- Robotic: Almost eliminating the need for human interaction in lawn maintenance, robotic mowers operate on rechargeable battery power and mow up to five acres of lawn space defined by a border wire.
Lawn Mower Defects
The biggest concerns associated with lawn mower use include:
- Projectile injury: Mowers can throw debris at high speed. That debris may originate from the environment or from a broken part or component of the mower itself.
- Blade injury: Feet are the most affected body part, as mower blades are backed over or propelled onto feet during use.
- Finger amputation and lacerations of hands: During repair or cleaning of mowers, many hand and finger injuries occur.
- Pollutant inhalation: According to a 2001 study, many mowers emit as much carbon monoxide pollution per hour as a 1992 model automobile does when driven for 650 miles. The EPA is requiring emissions reduction by at least 35 percent as of 2011, because of this high health risk.
- Hearing loss: Mower usage may result in hearing loss due to their significant production of noise.
Lawn Mower Recalls
- A brand known as Snapper sold 2,200 walk-behind mowers in 2002 without effective side-discharge deflectors, increasing the risk of injury due to expelled projections during standard lawn use.
- In 1980, eight consumers complained to Black & Decker about the spontaneous ignition of their Black & Decker battery-powered lawn mowers when the mowers were not in operation. In fact, the fires occurred when the mowers were sitting latent in storage.
- Black & Decker recalled 140,000 cordless electric lawn mowers in 2002 after 11 reports of overheating of electrical components, resulting in burns and nine reports of property damage.
- In 2008, Kyodo America recalled 530 LawnBot mowers due to the risk of laceration. One consumer reported injury after picking up the LawnBot self-propelled mowing machine and receiving lacerations from the moving blade. A second risk listed by Kyodo is the potential for the LawnBot to run over a foot and cause lacerations or amputation.
- In 1993, 160,000 Lawn Boy mowers were recalled due to splitting and leaking gas tanks that posed a risk of fire. Fires without injuries were reported as of the recall date.
Each year 80,000 Americans require hospital treatment for lawn mower accidents. The majority of those accidents are associated with children under the age of 15 and adults over the age of 60. The most common injuries are strikes by debris that is picked up and thrown by the mower’s spinning blades.
According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System’s statistics, 663,000 Americans were seen in emergency rooms for injuries sustained while using lawn mowers from 1996 to 2004. This means that approximately two of every 1,000 emergency room visits results from injuries sustained during lawn mower accidents, which amounts to approximately half the number of annual firearm-related injuries. The most common injury aside from projectile damage is that of a fractured foot.
No-Spill 5-Gallon Gas Can Recall
On November 20, 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and No-Spill, LLC, announced a voluntary recall of approximately 7,500 No-Spill 5-Gallon Gasoline Cans. The defective cans can leak fuel at the black plastic collar where the spout connects to the can, which poses a risk of fire and burn hazards.
The recalled gas cans are heavy-duty red plastic with date codes AIP09202 through AIP09222 printed on the bottom of the can. Not all cans are affects, but cans with noticeable leaks are part of the recall.
The 5-gallon cans were sold at lawn and garden stores and hardware retailers nationwide and online from August 2009 through November 2009.
Customers are urged to test their gas cans for leaks and immediately stop using leaky cans. A free replacement can be obtained by contacting No-Spill at 877-928-0049.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pesticides are substances or mixtures that prevent, destroy, mitigate or repel a pest. The type of pest repelled may be insects, rodents, other living creatures, microorganisms, fungi or even plant life. Defoliants, desiccants and plant regulators are also considered pesticides in the United States.
The following pesticides are commonly found in households:
- Roach sprays and repellents
- Insect repellents
- Rodent poisons
- Flea and tick sprays, powders and pet collars
- Disinfectants and sanitizers
- Mold and mildew sprays
- Weed killers and other lawn and garden sprays
- Swimming pool chemicals
Pesticides may be a chemical, biological, antimicrobial or disinfectant device employed to eradicate a pest. Primarily used to prevent irritation and disease in humans, plants and animals, they are also effective in preventing harm to food during production, processing, storage, transportation or marketing. Pesticides also protect agricultural and wood products and in some cases, pesticides act as food preservatives.
Seventy-five percent of American households used at least one pesticide within their home interior in the past year. The most frequently used pesticides are insecticides and disinfectants. Eighty percent of human exposures to pesticides occur indoors and up to 12 different pesticides exist in measurable amounts in the air inside the average home.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pesticides are designed to kill, thus they are toxic by nature and dangerous to humans. Some highly toxic pesticides can be carcinogenic, mutagenic or cause reproduction hazards. Many are known to disrupt the endocrine system and many are persistent, biocaccumulative and toxic (PBT), requiring expert handling. Symptoms of dangerous inhalation or other exposure include:
- Muscle twitching
- Tingling sensations
- Wheezing or other respiratory difficulty
Some examples of general pesticide failure include:
- In December of 1997, a child was dangerously exposed to aldicarb, a bug insecticide. The incidence resulted in near-fatality.
- A child was poisoned after mowing his home lawn that had been sprayed with pesticides.
- In September of 1986, two unlicensed Orkin exterminators neglected to check the air as required inside a home after doing pesticide work there, resulting in two deaths.
- On July 8, 2002 in California, Wester Farm Service applied metam-sodium to the carrot and potato crops of Kirschenmann Farms. The pesticide drifted into the homes of 84 residents who later sued both Wester and Kirschenmann, winning $775,000.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that 79,000 children were exposed to pesticides, many of whom experienced toxic reactions, in 1990. Children are most susceptible to pesticide harm. The Natural Resources Defense Council has documented that children with early exposure to pesticides have higher rates of birth defects, brain cancers and leukemia.
Over 95 percent of both sprayed insecticides and herbicides reach living creatures, air, water and soil they were not intended to reach. This is called “pesticide drift.” In 1993, a study by the United States National Research Council stated that the major source of pesticide exposure for children and babies is food.
One of every 16 calls to the Poison Control Center relates to pesticide poisoning, which amounted to a total of 97,278 instances of pesticide poisoning calls in 1996. Half of those were associated with children under the age of six.
Adult exposure to pesticides is said to increase the risk of early-onset Parkinson’s Disease by 400 percent. Other problems resulting from pesticide poisoning include long-term neurological concerns such as reduced attention span, diminished coordination, short-term memory problems, decreased stamina, aggression and anti-social behavior.
- In 2004, Nature’s Value Ginseng capsules sold under the Vitamin Shoppe brand were recalled due to contamination with pesticides.
- Trapold Farms recalled 638 dozen-pack cases of celery root in 2005 due to linuron pesticide contamination.
Plastic Tree Steps Recall
On May 19, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Primal Vantage Co. announced a safety recall of approximately 17,800 Ameristep Plastic Strap-On Tree Steps, after receiving six reports of the tree steps breaking and causing consumers to fall from trees while hunting.
The recall affects all Ameristep plastic tree steps that attach to trees with a nylon strap and a large metal buckle, including model numbers 105 and 155 with either a 10/08 or 12/08 date code stamped on the plastic piece. The steps are used while hunting to reach an elevated position and were sold from December 2008 through November 2009 at outdoor and sporting goods retailers nationwide.
Consumers are advised to stop using the recalled tree steps immediately and contact Primal Vantage at 866-972-6168 to obtain a full refund.