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June 23rd 2017

Last month, Beko issued a safety alert for thousands of tumble dryers, including one model found to have caused a blaze that killed a mother-of-two, as it began a voluntary repair programme "as a precautionary measure".

The safety notice concerned five Beko and Blomberg 8kg and 9kg capacity dryers sold between May and November 2012 and carrying the model numbers DCU9330W, DCU9330R, DCU8230, DSC85W and TKF8439A.

June 18 2017

Chances are that if you have a child, or know someone who does, you'll be aware of the fidget spinner craze.

But local authorities are now recalling some of the 'toys' due to fears over safety.

Hundreds of shops and supermarkets have been forced to clear their shelves of the addictive pocket toy after trading standards officers from Bath and North East Somerset Council asked for action to be taken to protect younger children against choking and internal bleeding.

The safety warnings refer mainly to the more advanced spinners which feature LED lights with lithium-ion batteries as they 'could cause choking and internal bleeding if swallowed by young children,' The Independent reports.

Martin Veale, cabinet member for community services at B&NES, said: 'Fidget spinners are new and currently very popular among young people.

'We want to ensure that, when using these devices, young people are safe

'Our Trading Standards officers have been looking at some of the spinners on sale and found them to have very small dangerous parts, so for public safety it's only right that they be withdrawn from sale.'

However the trend is still going strong and so Veale also issued some advice for parents of children who were still looking to get their hands on them: 'Anyone buying a fidget spinner should purchase it from a reputable trader and ensure the safety warnings can be clearly seen on the packaging.'

If your child does own a fidget spinner already then it is advised that you check they know how to play with them safely and have read through all safety precautions.

Feb 22nd 2017

Families with exploding tumble dryers in their homes have been told to unplug them immediately in a dramatic u-turn by manufacturer Whirlpool. 

The electricals giant caved in to pressure and admitted all affected models including Hotpoint and Indesit dryers should be taken out of service until they can be repaired.

It comes after the Mirror led calls for Whirlpool to take responsibility for 5.3 million dangerous machines sold over a decade and linked to hundreds of fires.

Campaigners are now demanding customers with unable to use dryers while waiting months for a repair be compensated.

Since admitting the fault in November 2015 the company had defiantly insisted they were safe to use so long as they were not left unattended.

It faced a barrage of demands to order them to be taken out of use including from firefighters, consumer group Which? and Electrical Safety First.

The Mirror has led the way in exposing the exploding tumble dryer and holding Whirlpool to account culminating in the issue being debated in Parliament.

Which? Has now joined the Mirror’s call for a full product recall and free replacement of all faulty machines.

Andy Slaughter MP, who called the debate in the House of Commons, said: “This now opens Whirlpool to claims from customers who have machines they cannot use.

“They should be replacing as well a repairing defective machines and if there is a delay in doing so, which there inevitably will be, they should compensate customers for the extra cost and inconvenience of not having a working dryer.”

Alice Beer, consumer campaigner for ITV’s This Morning, said: “I think it’s completely unreasonable to expect customers not to use their tumble dryers whilst they wait for a modification.

“This is one of the wettest months of the year and anyone with children or extra needs in the family cannot be expected to have wet sheets and clothing spread around their house or flat.

“Instead of pushing its customers to pay for a reduced price replacement for their faulty machine, wouldn’t it be great if customers who are not able to use a machine that they have purchased in good faith are compensated.”

The change comes after consumer group Which launched a bid for a judicial review against Peterborough-based Trading Standards for not taking a harder line with Whirlpool. 

The Trading Standards office, responsible for the issue because that is where Whirlpool’s UK headquarters is based, then issued two new enforcement notices.

Other brands affected by the fault which sees excess fluff catch fire are Creda, Swan and Proline.

Whirlpool confirmed the dramatic u-turn yesterday(Wed) in updated advice on its website.

It states: “If your tumble dryer is affected by this issue then you should unplug it and do not use it until the modification has taken place.”

Jill Paterson, of Leigh Day solicitors representing victims of tumble dryer fires, said: “Thousands of consumers are now left with a product that they can’t use and are enforced to wait for Whirlpool to get round to carrying out the modification.

“This can’t be right. I would call on Whirlpool to rectify this situation by offering compensation or a free replacement machine to all those affected as soon as possible.”

Families have been left waiting months with the potential death traps in their homes after Whirlpool refused to initiate a full product recall and replace all machines.

Instead it attempted a mammoth repair programme for the 3.8 million machines estimated to still be in use.

The trading standards enforcement notices were initially appealed by Whirlpool and the company faced being taken to court if it did not comply.

Alex Neill, director of legal services for Which? said: “Following our long running campaign and our recent application for judicial review,

Peterborough Trading Standards has finally taken enforcement action against Whirlpool for the ongoing tumble dryer safety issue.

“Fundamentally we now believe a full recall is necessary and the Government must urgently address the issues with the product safety system as it shouldn’t require the threat of judicial review to ensure that consumers are protected from dangerous products.

“Despite updating the safety notice on its websites, Whirlpool still needs to do a lot more.

“Our advice is to go straight to Whirlpool to demand your machine is fixed but also try speaking to the retailer you bought it from.”

Faulty models sold between 2004 and 2015 have been linked to hundreds of fires and at least two deaths.

Doug McTavish, 39, and Bernard Hender, 19, died in ablaze at their home in Conwy, North Wales, in October 2014.

London Fire Brigade investigators found that a serious blaze that ripped through an 18-storey tower block in Shepherd’s Bush last August was caused by a faulty Indesit tumble dryer which required a repair.

Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly said: “This change of advice could save lives and we are extremely relieved that, after six months of campaigning by the Brigade, Whirlpool has finally brought its advice in line with our own.

“We attend nearly one fire a day involving white goods and strongly believe that if your appliance is subject to a safety or recall notice or you think there is something wrong with it you should unplug it immediately and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician.

Whirlpool said of the 3.8 million machines thought to be still in service 1.5 million customers have registered for a repair. It said 1.3 million of these cases have been resolved.

It said in a statement: “Trading Standards confirmed, following an internal review by independent experts, that the modification programme remains the most effective way of resolving this issue. “Since the launch of this campaign, safety has been our number one priority. We have consistently responded to the advice of Trading Standards and continue to do so.

“Trading standards have now notified us that updated usage advice should be communicated to consumers and we are implementing this.

“Trading standards have confirmed that our actions to date in this campaign have been undertaken diligently and responsibly.

“The success of this programme depends on as many customers as possible registering with us for a modification.”

The five faulty brand models are now owned by Whirlpool. Whirlpool branded tumble dryers are not affected.

Feb 19th 2017

Supermarket Morrisons has recalled one of its meat-based products over concerns it may cause flu-like symptoms among vulnerable people.

The retailer has asked customers who bought its 150g Ready to Eat Peppered Beef Slices to return them, after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said they are contaminated with listeria monocytogenes.

The product has a use-by date of February 21 2017 

Symptoms caused by the bug can be similar to flu and include a high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick and diarrhoea.

In rare cases the infection can be more severe, causing serious complications such as meningitis.

Some people are more vulnerable to listeria infections, including those over 65 years old, pregnant women and their unborn babies, babies less than one month old and people with weakened immune systems.

The company has provided point-of-sale notices to all stores and market stalls that were supplied with the contaminated product.

The FSA said: "If you have bought the above product, do not eat it. Instead, return it to the store from where it was bought for a full refund."

No other Morrisons products are involved.

A Morrisons spokesman said: "Our routine testing has identified the presence of low levels of Listeria in this product.

"We are asking all customers who have bought this use by date of this product not to consume it and to return it to their nearest Morrisons store where they will receive a full refund."

New Child car seat laws

In order to keep babies and infants safe on car journeys, it’s not only essential to have a properly-fitted car seat for them - it’s the law.

New research by Sheila’s Wheels, however, claims that a third of child car seats in the UK are installed wrong, and 10 per cent are a danger to the child as a result.

The law governing baby car seats in the UK is changing on March 1st so if you have a young child, this is what you need to know:

Your child must sit in a car seat until they are 12 years old or 4’5” tall, depending on which comes first.

The seat can be rear- or front-facing if your baby is older than 15 months, but for those first months of life, a baby must face the back of the car.

Once the top of their head is level with the top of the seat, it’s time to get a bigger one - according to experts, this should only be done when your baby can hold their own head up for at least half an hour at once.

If your baby weighs less than 9 kg, they should travel in a baby carrier rather than a child seat.

Once your child is older and bigger, you can sit them in a backless booster seat, but only when they weigh about 15 kg, which is usually around the age of three and a half.

The law is changing with regard to backless booster seats though - they’re going to be banned for children under 4’1” and weighing less than 22 kg because experts believe they’re not as safe as seats with backs.

However this change only applies to new backless booster seats entering the market after March 1st 2017 - if you already own one, it’s fine to continue using it. 

There are a few exceptions to the law where children can legally travel without a car seat: 

When choosing a seat, make sure you pick one that will be secure: look for one either with a diagonal strap, one that is designed to be used with a lap seat belt, or one that has ISOFIX anchor points (which keep the chair attached to the seat of the car).

All car seats in the UK must be EU-approved so check yours is marked with an E.

Old phones

The iPhone has been around a full 10 years now, meaning at some point you've probably upgraded to a newer model. (Possibly several newer models.) And whenever you do that, you're left with your old phone and a question: What should I do with it?

Most common answer: sell it. That's a good way to help defray the cost of the upgrade.

However, that's not the only option, and not necessarily even the best. Instead, consider repurposing that old iPhone. You might be surprised at some of the feats it can perform.

Keep it as a backup phone

It's a hard truth: Phones get lost, stolen and broken every day. I don't know about you, but I'd be in pretty dire straits if something happened to my phone.

The straits would be less dire, though, if I could just grab my previous-gen iPhone. I'd still have access to my calendar, contacts, iMessages and the like (because they're all synced), along with daily-use apps like Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, my password manager and so on. There's really no better short-term rescue option.

In fact, if you still have your new phone (assuming it's busted and not lost or stolen), you can probably just pop the SIM card out and back into the old phone, restoring voice and data until repairs are made.

Of course, you don't have to stick the old phone in a drawer and leave it there in case of disaster; you can also keep it as a low- or even no-cost second line. For example, if it's an unlocked GSM model, grab a SIM card from Freedompop (about $13) and sign up for the WhatsApp Basic plan. It affords you 100 voice minutes, 100 text messages and 200MB of 4G data per month -- at no charge.

Add it to a multi-camera video shoot

Whether you're recording a wedding, a kid's soccer game, a music video or your sure-to-win-the-film-fest indie movie, nothing beats multiple cameras. When it comes time to edit, you can mix footage from different angles and positions to create much more interesting video.

Needless to say, your old iPhone can make a great second camera. (Models dating back to the iPhone 4S could capture 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution video at 30 frames per second.) Clear out as much storage as possible to make room for new footage and you're good to go.

Even better, spend $4 (AU$6, £4) on Collabracam, an iOS app that links multiple iPhone/iPad cameras (up to six) for live multi-camera video production. It's pretty amazing. Indeed, once you start using Collabracam, I guarantee you're going to start hunting down more old iPhones to add to the mix.

Use it as a baby monitor

Speaking of video, an iPhone with nothing else to do can easily pull baby-monitor duty, and in fact can rival or even exceed standalone products costing a pretty penny.

All you need is Cloud Baby Monitor, a $4 (AU$6, £4) app designed expressly for this purpose. In addition to both audio and video monitoring (with alert options for both), the app can play lullabies and white noise (or even your own playlist) to help baby get back to sleep. There's a night-light option (with brightness control!), two-way audio and more.

Needless to say, you can tap into the audio/video feeds from anywhere, provided the iPhone is connected via Wi-Fi. That's a pretty solid return on a $4 investment.

Give it the GoPro treatment

One final video option: Turn your old iPhone into a GoPro. Again, that's a solid camera in there, so all you need is a way to mount it for action-video duty. Velocity Clip, for example, offers iPhone mounts for your bike, chest and head, all of them priced in the $40-50 range. Granted, an iPhone is a little unwieldy when strapped to your head, but it's still way cheaper than buying a separate GoPro.

Whatever mount option you end up with, hit up Ebay for a cheap Bluetooth camera-shutter button. (They're available for as little as $2-3.) That way you can start and stop video recording without having to fiddle with the iPhone while it's mounted.

Create a poor-man's Amazon Echo

If you've ever used an Amazon Echo, you know the joy of being able to say things like, "Alexa, play some Steely Dan on Spotify."

Many folks forget that iPhones have an "Alexa" as well in the form of Siri. Thus, you can turn your old iPhone into an Echo of sorts; just leaved it plugged in someplace within earshot, then say, "Hey, Siri" to invoke a command. (If you need a refresher, here's the complete list of Siri commands to date.)

To get even closer to the Echo experience, keep that phone connected to a Bluetooth speaker. If you're an Apple Music user, Siri can serve up songs, playlists and the like (podcasts too, provided you have Apple's Podcasts app). Alas, while she can open third-party apps like Spotify for you, she can't yet make them play. The one exception is Pandora: Say, "Hey, Siri, open Pandora," and the app will start playing whatever was your last station.

Leave it on your nightstand

An old iPhone might just be the best thing to hit your nightstand since the lamp. Because in that one spot it can serve countless purposes:

Bedside clock (Disappearing Bedside Clock ($3, AU$5, £3)) is an interesting choice, as the display disappears after a selected interval, but reappears when you tap the screen or wave your hand in front of it).

Alarm clock (check out iOS 10's new alarm feature, but don't overlook third-party apps like SpeakToSnooze, which features some cool voice-control options).

Clock radio (TuneIn Radio is a good choice, as it has both alarm and sleep-timer features).

Dedicated ereader (iBooks, Kindle, Nook, OverDrive...you don't have to limit yourself to a single app).

Meditation player (I'm partial to Buddhify, but there are a zillion others).

Spare Roku remote (check out the latest update).

White-noise machine (I don't have a particular favorite; hit up the App Store for lots of choices).

Any other suggestions for an iPhone by the bedside? Or anywhere else, for that matter? Let's hear your ideas for reusing your leftover handset.

WARNING

There could be some hidden dangers lurking in your baby's Sophie the Giraffe.

People are finding that their children's chew toys are full of mould. It's a serious problem, reminiscent of last year's Tommee Tippee Sippee cup findings, which horrified parents last year.

The drama with Sophie the Giraffe was noticed by paediatric dentist Dana Chianese. She recommends giving babies and toddlers teething toys every day, and the giraffe is one of the favourites.

Scary stuff

Dana recently decided to clean her child's toy. She wondered why the air coming out of one of its air holes smelled "musty," cut the giraffe open, and discovered something upsetting inside, according to Good Housekeeping .

"I decided to cut into Sophie out of curiosity and discovered a science experiment living inside," she said.

"Smelly, ugly mold living in my infant's favourite chew toy!"

Is your giraffe mouldy?

Other parents have also found their kids' Sophies have become breeding grounds for potentially harmful bacteria.

So, it might well be worth checking your Sophie if you have one.

However, we must say that your toy might be completely safe. Some parents have cut into their babies' Sophies only to find them clean inside.

Mirror Online has contacted the manufacturer for comment.

product-recall
and warnings

20th Dec 2016

Lidl was alerted to the harmful effects of a paint thinner chemical found in its gravy granules more than two weeks before it issued a public recall, The Independent can reveal.

The supermarket has recalled two batches of Kania Gravy Granules found to contain xylene, which occurs naturally in petroleum and crude oil, said the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Eugene Vatsaloo, from Tonyrefail in south Wales, said he and his family had suffered stomach cramps, headaches, dizziness and breathing difficulties shortly after eating the gravy with their dinner on 29 November.

 

Exposure to xylene poses a health risk, causing irritation of the mouth, throat, nose and lungs and in severe cases leading to heart problems, liver and kidney damage and coma, according to Public Health England.

Mr Vatsaloo told The Independent his wife had mentioned a chemical smell while cooking the meal, but thought it was the saucepan handle burning.

“I put lots of salt and pepper on mine. I was fairly hungry as I'd been working all day. The others said they didn't like the taste of it and stopped eating it,” he said.

The whole family – along with their three French bulldogs, who had eaten the children’s leftovers – quickly became unwell, with his two children aged 15 and 20 experiencing headaches and burning and blisters in their throat.

“I had a real bad back pain as well as passing blood for two days,” said the DJ. “The doctor told me the bleeding was from burning in the stomach.”

“I waited five or six days before I saw the doctor, as I thought I had food poisoning and it took two days to get an appointment. Had I known, I would have gone to A&E straight away.”

Mr Vatsaloo informed Lidl and environmental health authorities of a possible contamination on 2 December when the family became concerned about the granules’ noxious smell after opening the packet again a few days later.

In emails seen by The Independent, the supermarket acknowledged the complaint and said the matter had been passed on to the Quality Assurance Department.

However, according to Mr Vatsaloo, more than two weeks later he had still not had any information from Lidl on what might have caused his symptoms.

He said Mya, one of his three dogs who had not vomited after consuming the gravy, was still critically ill and her treatment had been delayed from the alleged lack of information provided by the supermarket.

“[Mya] never goes to the toilet in the house, and there was a pool of blood on the floor in my bedroom,” he said.

“I rang [Lidl] every day, saying 'can you tell me what it is'. I sought medical attention and took my dog to the vets. They said I needed to find out what it was from the manufacturer.”

“My dog is still passing blood. The vet said it was caused by caustic burning in the colon. I'm sure she's got kidney damage, she's got to go back tomorrow. We're worried sick about her.

“I've been living this nightmare for the last 17 days, I want to know what I've eaten and what my dog has eaten. Is she going to be ok? Obviously she's not going to be ok.”

A Lidl spokesperson told The Independent an investigation was launched as soon as they were made aware of the situation and they had announced the public recall yesterday, having been in consultation with the FSA.

 “A recall notice has been issued in all stores advising customers not to consume any Kania Gravy Granules with a best before date of October 2017 and November 2017 only,” they said. 

“If a customer has consumed this product we would urge them to seek medical advice. We are taking the issue very seriously and are working closely with our supplier to identify the cause.“

The supermarket said it had issued its own recall notice in its 640 UK stores as a precaution on 5 December, but had not released details of the suspected contamination until it had been confirmed by laboratory analysis.

The spokesperson said the customer service team had been in “ongoing contact with the customer and requested further information in order for our quality assurance team to carry out a full and thorough investigation."

Kirsta Horsman, from Welling in Kent, told The Independent she had also experienced persistent headaches and an upset stomachafter eating the gravy granules bought from Lidl.

She said her nine-year-old daughter had suffered a dizzy spell on the way to school for the first time.

"We've been eating these granules on and off for a month," she said. "It was only after seeing the news that I thought, 'oh, that's why I've not been feeling well".

A notice issued by the supermarket said the products affected were 300g packets of Kania Gravy Granules for meat and for chicken with best before dates of October and November 2017.

Other Kania products are not affected by the recall.

Nov 4th 2016

Samsung Electronics, which is already reeling from a global recall of its Note 7 smartphones, said it would recall about 2.8 million of its top-load washing machines in the United States to address safety concerns. The top of the washing machines can unexpectedly detach from the chassis during use, posing a risk of injury from impact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement on Friday.

Oct 11th 2016

PLEASE SHARE - SWITCH OFF YOUR GALAXY NOTE 7
Samsung Mobile has alerted it's 2.5-million Galaxy Note 7 users to turn off their devices immediately, as it investigates reports of more fire incidents with replacement devices.

DETAILS I http://yhoo.it/2dLDW9X

INFORMATION

Lithium-based batteries have been powering our portable devices for 25 years.

But consumer demand for smaller, longer lasting devices is forcing manufacturers to push the technology, battery experts say, testing the limits of how much energy they can safely pack into smaller spaces.

"A battery is really a bomb that releases its energy in a controlled way," says Qichao Hu, a former researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of SolidEnergy Systems, a battery startup.

"There are fundamental safety issues to all batteries, and as you get to higher energy density and faster charge, the barrier to explosion is less and less."

On Tuesday, Samsung Electronics scrapped its flagship Note 7 smartphone and told customers return their devices after weeks of bruising reports of phones igniting and images of scorched handsets.

In early September, the world's largest smartphone maker blamed "a very rare manufacturing process error" for the problems. It has said it is still investigating reports of fires in a second, supposedly safe, batch of phones.

Exactly what caused the problems will be the subject of detailed studies by regulators, the company and its suppliers.

Experts are baffled by what could be causing the overheating in the replacement phones, if not the batteries. Samsung says it would be "premature to speculate" on the outcome of its investigations.

"We are reviewing every step of our engineering, manufacturing and quality control processes," Samsung said in an emailed response to Reuters.

An official at the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, which is also investigating, said the fault in the replacement devices might not be the same as the problem in the original product.

Both Samsung SDI and Amperex Technology Ltd (ATL), which supply batteries to Samsung Electronics, declined to comment.

Samsung's Note 7 crisis may be its biggest, but the problems with lithium-ion are not new.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued recalls for battery packs, snow blowers, hoverboards, flashlights and power recliners in the past year, all because of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.

In 2013, Boeing was forced to ground its entire fleet of advanced 787 jetliners after some lithium-ion batteries caught fire. The fleet was allowed to resume flights after changes were made to the battery and charger, and to better contain battery fires.

"We remain confident in the comprehensive improvements made to the 787 battery system following this event, and in the overall performance of the battery system and the safety of the airplane," Boeing said in 2014 after an investigation into one incident.

LIGHT-WEIGHT, HIGH ENERGY

Lithium is the lightest of all metals, and can pack a lot of energy into a small volume - making it perfect for batteries.

The market has grown from a few hundred million cells in 2000 to 8 billion last year, according to Albemarle, a U.S. chemical company.

But for the same reason, lithium-ion batteries need safety mechanisms built in, adding to production costs.

And with prices falling 14 percent per year for the past 15 years, according to Albemarle, smaller scale players have scrimped on safety, says Lewis Larsen, CEO of Lattice Energy, a consultancy.

There is no evidence Samsung or its battery suppliers cut corners with the Note 7, and Tony Olson, CEO of consultancy D2 Worldwide, said the problem was not limited to cheaper products.

He ran tests on batteries in laptops a decade ago, highlighting the dangers of them catching fire. Some 9.6 million Sony Corp laptop batteries were subsequently recalled.

But when Olsen repeated the tests on other laptop batteries seven years later he found that "very little had changed in battery safety design, despite being under tremendous scrutiny."

Sony, HP Inc, Toshiba Corp and Panasonic Corp have all recalled laptop battery packs this year over fire hazards, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Panasonic, which supplied the batteries, said the problem was caused by manufacturing issues which it had now resolved.

Asked about Samsung's woes last week, Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga told reporters lithium ion batteries could become prone to fires when density was raised and fast charging was applied.

"It’s a trade-off between that (risk) and benefits. We place the biggest priority on safety," Tsuga said. "With current technologies, it’s extremely difficult to make it zero chance of such incidents."

GREATER DEMANDS

Before the era of smartphones, users didn't require much of their device - a few phone calls, a few SMS messages. The phone of today, however, needs to do a lot more, and is in constant use.

According to eMarketer, an advertising consultancy, Chinese mobile users, for example, spend nearly twice as long on their smartphone as they did four years ago.

This in turn has pushed manufacturers into making their screens bigger and their devices more powerful, packing more energy into smaller spaces. And however sophisticated the materials, "they're not 100 percent safe and they never will be," said Larsen, the consultant.

"What we're seeing from the standpoint of lithium-ion technology is they're beginning to reach the safe energy density limits of that technology."

But experts are divided on that point. Brandon Ng, whose Hong Kong startup QFE plans to sell refrigerator-sized batteries to replace diesel generators, said there is still room for improvements.

"There is still a lot of developmental headroom with lithium-ion batteries in terms of increasing the energy they can store."

Long-promised new technologies to make batteries safer are around the corner.

Tim Grejtak, an analyst at Lux Research, said there are dozens of startups working on the issue, but the scientific problems were hard to solve and would take time.

Among the most promising candidates, according to Grejtak, is California-based Blue Current, which is working on a high density, low flammable battery using gel electrolytes.

Massachusetts-based SolidEnergy Systems is working on a lithium metal battery which founder Hu says takes up half the space of existing batteries. It will be used first in high altitude drones, he says, and in consumer devices, including smartphones, by 2018.

(Additional reporting by Se Young Lee in SEOUL, Makiko Yamazaki in TOKYO and Sijia Jiang in HONG KONG; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Sept 29th

Samsung's explosion woes do not seem to end as some washing machines in the US made by the manufacturer are now reported to be faulty with some consumers claiming they have exploded. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is already helping the Korean company with its Galaxy Note 7 recall, has started investigating the matter.

The company, acknowledging the problem, has issued a statement saying: "We are in active discussions with the CPSC to address potential safety issues related to certain top-load washing machines manufactured between March 2011 and April 2016. In rare cases, affected units may experience abnormal vibrations that could pose a risk of personal injury or property damage when washing bedding, bulky or water-resistant items."

To wash such items, the company recommends that those with top-loading models purchased between these dates use the lower speed delicate cycle as a precaution.

Apart from complaints to the company, three consumers in the US have filed suits against Samsung according to the Wall Street Journal. They have claimed that their machines suddenly exploded while being used. Among the complainants is Michelle Soto Fielder from McAllen, who says her Samsung washing machine, purchased in June 2012, exploded in February 2016 and it was so violent that a dent was formed in the wall of the garage, where the machine was it was so violent that a dent was formed in the wall of the garage, where the machine was installed.

This is not the first washing machine issue the company has had to deal with. In 2013, Samsung had to recall thousands of washing machines in Australia because of a possible fire hazard.

The damaging allegations come at a time when Samsung is facing the heat related to its flagship phone Galaxy Note 7 which had to be recalled due to a battery fault that caused it to explode in many cases.

Incidentally, even as the replacement process continues for the Note 7 units, some users who have received the new device are still claiming that the batteries remain faulty with signs of excess drainage and overheating.

Sept 10th

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) on Saturday urged users of its Galaxy Note 7 phones to turn in their handsets as soon as possible as part of a recall aimed at limiting the damage caused by the fire-prone devices.

The world's top smartphone maker said last week it would exchange all Note 7 phones in 10 markets including South Korea and the United States, a costly setback for a company that was counting on the 988,900 won ($892.73) model to bolster sales momentum as rivals such as Apple Inc (AAPL.O) launch new devices.

Reports that the phones' batteries have combusted while charging or in normal use prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to stop using the Note 7 device.

Aviation authorities and airlines across the world have also issued bans or guidelines prohibiting passengers from turning on or charging the phone inside airplanes in response.

"We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note 7s and exchange them as soon as possible," Koh Dong-jin, head of Samsung's smartphone business, said in a statement.

"We are expediting replacement devices so that they can be provided through the exchange program as conveniently as possible and in compliance with related regulations," the statement added.

For Samsung, which prides itself on manufacturing prowess, the scale of the recall is unprecedented and deals a huge blow to its reputation.

Some 2.5 million of the premium devices have been sold worldwide that need to be recalled, the firm has said, and some analysts say the recall could cost Samsung nearly $5 billion in lost revenue this year.

The Korean company is offering to exchange all affected Galaxy Note 7 phones with a replacement device using a safe battery. Samsung has said replacement Note 7s will be available in some markets including South Korea and the United States from Sept. 19.

Samsung said on Friday it plans to resume sales of new Galaxy Note 7 devices in Australia in early October, but it is not clear when new sales will resume in other markets.

June 24th

Ikea has recalled Patrull Child safety gates because a faulty locking mechanism allowed some children to fall downstairs.

April 22nd

German car makers are to recall 630,000 cars to fix diesel emissions management software, a German govermnment official said.

The recall, including Porsche, Volkswagen, Opel, Audi and Mercedes vehicles, widens a clampdown in the wake of the VW scandal - in which the car maker last year admitted using software to cheat on emissions tests.

German officials had ordered tests on a broad range of vehicles as part of a broader investigation into high levels of health-threatening nitric oxide diesel emissions.

Related: Is YOUR car one of the 37 models that miserably failed UK emission tests?

The probe found that only Volkswagen had installed illegal manipulation software known as "defeat devices".

The recall is aimed to tighten a legal loophole over emissions treatment systems, in order to ensure lower levels of pollution going forward, an official told Reuters.

It comes after VW agreed a huge settlement with the US Justice Department over the diesel scandal that is expected to land it with a bill of $10bn (£7bn).

The deal covers about 482,000 vehicles with two-litre, four-cylinder diesel engines. A federal judge in San Francisco said it was expected to include "substantial compensation" to owners to sell back or have their vehicles fixed, or to cancel outstanding leases.

The judge said the agreement did not cover 90,000 larger vehicles. Meanwhile the Justice Department said its criminal investigation into VW remained "active and ongoing".

Regulators and prosecutors around the world are investigating the car maker after its admission last year, which affected 11 million vehicles globally.

Meanwhile two other car makers are facing investigations from US officials.

Daimler, maker of Mercedes, said it had been contacted by the Justice Department last week over "possible indications of irregularities".

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler said Friday it's recalling more than 1.1 million cars and midsize SUVs worldwide because drivers can't tell if they've put the vehicles in park.

The confusion can increase the risk of a rollaway accident.

The recall covers the 2012-2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans and the 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV.

FCA is recalling 811,586 vehicles in the U.S.; 52,144 vehicles in Canada; 16,805 in Mexico; and 248,667 outside North America.

The vehicles have an electronic shift lever that moves forward or backward to let the driver select the gear instead of moving along a track. A light shows which gear is selected, but to get from "drive" to "park," drivers must push the lever forward three times.

The vehicles sound a chime and issue a dashboard warning if the driver's door is opened while they aren't in "park." But the push-button ignition doesn't shut off the engine, increasing the risk of the vehicles rolling away after drivers have exited.

FCA said it's aware of 41 injuries potentially related to the problem.

The U.S. government opened an investigation into the vehicles in February after getting reports that they were rolling away when they were supposed to be parked.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the shift lever "is not intuitive and provides poor tactile feedback to the driver," according to documents posted on the agency's website. The agency had at least 121 reports of crashes related to the issue.

Owners will be notified. Dealers will update the shifters so the vehicles won't move once the driver has exited. They will also add enhanced warning signals. FCA says customers should carefully follow the instructions for operating their shifters until their vehicles are repaired.

FCA changed the shifter design on the Charger and the 300 in the 2015 model year. It changed the Grand Cherokee's shifter in the 2016 model year.

 

IKEA bosses have issued another warning over a range of furniture after a boy was crushed by a set of drawers.

The company first issued a warning back in July after two children were killed when drawers and wardrobes fell on them.

Now another child has been killed in America, it's the third time the Malm range has been involved in fatal tipping incidents.

In a report by journalist Tricia Nadolny, of The Philadelphia Inquirer, mum Janet McGee had reportedly put her 22-month-old son Ted down for a nap and was checking on him every 20 minutes.

When she opened the door and found his empty bed, she assumed he was hiding – until she spotted the six-drawer dresser on the floor, on top of her son.

Although no tragedies have been reported in the UK, parents are being urged to make sure they use the fittings that come with the furniture to fix it to the wall.

A spokesman for IKEA said: "We at IKEA offer our deepest condolences to the McGee family.

"At IKEA, we believe children are the most important people in the world and the safety of our products is our highest priority.

"Upon being informed of this incident IKEA US immediately reported it to the authorities and an investigation is taking place.

"IKEA US has been advised that the product was not attached to the wall, which is an integral part of the products’ assembly instructions."

He added: "We wish to emphasise that the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to attach products to the wall with the included restraints and hardware per the assembly instructions.

"IKEA has included restraints with our chest of drawers for decades, and wall attachment is an integral part of the assembly instructions.”

A two-year-old boy from Pennsylvania, in America, died in February 2014 when a Malm chest fell on him and pinned him to a bed.

Three months later, a 23-month-old child from Washington was killed in when a three-drawer Malm chest tipped over.

IKEA has stores locally in Ashton-under-Lyne and Warrington.

Anyone concerned about their furniture can contact IKEA on 0203 645 0010 to request a free restraint kit if the original one was disposed of

Dimplex and other product-recalls

March 24th 2016

Gerber Products Company is voluntarily recalling two organic baby foods because a packaging defect may make them susceptible to spoilage during transport and handling, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the company said Thursday.

Two kinds of Gerber Organic 2nd Foods Pouches are being recalled: One is Pears, Carrots and Peas and the other is Carrots, Apples and Mangoes, the company said.

"As a result you may notice that, in some cases, those pouches are bloated or product inside may have an off-taste or odor," Gerber President and Chief Executive Gary Tickle said in a statement. "We are proactively working to retrieve all remaining pouches of the affected batches that fail to meet our quality standards."

There have been three consumer reports of temporary gastrointestinal symptoms, but the FDA said it has been unable to confirm that they are related to the product.

The recalled pouches of pears, carrots and peas have best-by dates of July 12, 2016, with batch number 51945335XX and July 13, 2016 with batch number 51955335XX, and the recalled carrots, apples and mangoes have best-by dates of July 13, 2016, with batch number 51955335XX and July 14, 2016, with batch number 51965335XX, according to the FDA and Gerber.

Consumers should not use the recalled products and should contact the Gerber Parents Resource Center at 1-800-706-0556 FREE.

March 16th
URGENT RECALL - @AmazonUK recall certain Fire tablet power adapters over electrocution risk: http://wmids.fr/YYlUE 

March 2nd

Electricians and builders are ignoring a recall of faulty electrical wiring, leaving tens of thousands of homes at risk of fire, the consumer watchdog says.

Infinity and Olsent branded power cables remain a fire or electrocution risk in 22,000 homes and offices, according to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, despite the products being recalled in 2014.

"It is expected in the next couple of months the cable insulation could start to crack and this may lead to electric shock or a fire if the cables are disturbed by tradespeople or home occupiers," the ACCC said.

The insulation on the affected cables deteriorates and becomes brittle far more quickly than normal wires, especially around high heat areas such as light fittings.

They were installed in NSW homes between 2010 and 2013 and elsewhere around the country since 2011.

The success of the recall has been hindered by lack of action from tradespeople, with retailers and suppliers reporting that some have been ignoring warnings.

"If you are an electrician or builder who installed the recalled electrical cable, you should immediately notify property owners, suppliers, and electrical safety authorities in order to have it remediated," ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

Electricians and builders could face penalties if they don't act immediately, she said.

Home owners who bought new properties, renovated or had electrical work done between 2010 and 2014 are also urged to have their wiring checked out by a professional

Mars

MCLEAN, Virginia: -- Chocolate maker Mars inc has recalled Mars bars and Snickers from 55 countries.

The move comes after bits of plastic were found in a product.

Other brands on the recall list are Milky Way minis and Miniatures as well as Celebrations confectionary boxes.

Those involved have best-before dates from June 19, 2016 to January 8,2017.

The countries involved include Germany, the UK, France, Belgium, Italy and Spain.

It is unknown how many chocolate bars and boxes are involved in the recall or the potential financial losses for the company.

The US chocolate manufacturer produces some 10 million snacks a day at its German HQ in Viersen.


Feb 21st
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Sweden's Volvo Cars says it is recalling 59,000 cars in 40 markets because of faulty software that can briefly shut down the engine and electric system while driving.

Group spokesman Stefan Elfstrom says the recall affects only five-cylinder diesel models from its 60 and 70 series built from mid-2015.

Elfstrom told The Associated Press Saturday that the glitch can be "unpleasant" but the company has no information about any accidents caused as a result. Both the engine and electric system start up again immediately.

He said the cars have been sold in chiefly Sweden, Britain and Germany. Owners will be asked by letter to contact their local dealership for a no-charge fix.

Chinese company Geely Holding bought the Volvo brand in 2010.

Feb 18th 2016

Toyota Australia has today announced a recall of approximately 98,000 RAV4 vehicles built between August 2005 and November 2012 due to a potential issue with both outboard seat belts of the second row seats.

There is a possibility that, in the event of a high-speed frontal collision, the seat belt webbing could contact a portion of the metal seat cushion frame, become cut and separate.

If this occurs, the seat belt may not properly restrain the occupant, which could increase the risk of injury to the occupant.

There have been no accidents or injuries in Australia as a result of this condition.

For all impacted vehicles, Toyota dealers will add resin protection covers to the metal seat cushion frames. These parts are presently being prepared and, due to the number of vehicles impacted globally, it is anticipated that sufficient parts will be available to commence recall repairs by June this year.

Affected vehicle owners will be notified by mail advising details of this recall campaign.

When parts are available, all affected vehicle owners will again be advised by mail and asked to take their vehicle to any authorised Toyota dealer for rectification.

The repairs will take approximately 60 minutes and will be conducted free of charge.

For further information, customers can contact the Toyota recall campaign helpline on 1800 987 366 or visit Toyota.com.au.

Important immediate product-recall

A safety issue has been identified with a batch of Dimplex portable dehumidifiers, a component on this printed circuit board may overheat resulting in the product catching fire.

Affected products can be identified by the serial number, which is located on the product rating plate this is accessible by removing the water tank.

The serial numbers of the affected products start with 0, 1or2

Only the 10L model is affected. Dimplex Dehumidifiers with a different model number or that start with a different serial number are not affected.

Call Dimplex Hotline on 0800 53 86 during office hours.

Volkswagen-product-recall

Volkswagen is being forced to do a product-recall of all of the cars fitted with emissions test-cheating software in the European Union after German authorities refused its proposal for a voluntary recall.

This will affect 8.5million VW diesel vehicles across the EU, of which 1.2million cars are estimated to be in the UK, where recalls will begin from early 2016.

The recall, one of the biggest in European history, will be mandatory rather than voluntary because of its large scale, Germany's transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said.

'This is a product-recall of a dimension that makes a degree of control and oversight indispensable,' he added. 

Of the 8.5million total, 2.4million are in Germany, according to the KBA, Germany's federal motor transport authority. And Austrian authorities have already said some 363,000 VW cars there are affected by the recall.

Some of the cars fitted with the illegal software designed to cheat nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission tests will only require a software update, while others will need new or rebuilt engine parts.

Dobrindt said Volkswagen would have to present replacement software for cars that have a 2litre diesel engine this month and begin fitting vehicles with them from January.

‘VW is ordered ... to remove the software from all vehicles and to take appropriate measures to ensure that the emissions rules are fulfilled,’ Dobrindt said.

But cars fitted with smaller 1.6litre diesel engine will require physical adjustments and these may not be ready until September next year, he added.

New VW chief executive Matthias Mueller said the recall was likely to ‘stretch through the 2016 calendar year’.

The car maker also said the recall would 'give customers clarity with regard to the continued unrestricted use of the vehicles'.

Meanwhile in the US, regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency have not yet demanded a recall.

Yesterday they said they will decide after examining repairs proposed from Volkswagen to be implemented next week on about 90,000 of the 482,000 cars with the cheating software in the US.

Laura Allen, an EPA spokesperson, said: ‘EPA will order a recall in the future, but will not do so until we are confident that VW’s fix will work.

‘EPA will conduct our own testing to confirm this. Then we will order a recall.     

VW, which has admitted to cheating US emissions tests, faces possible fines from US authorities.

Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and SEAT have all set up new websites to allow owners to check if their diesel cars are affected by the recent emissions scandal.

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