Lawsuit Filed Over Exploding Toilets

A lawsuit has  been filed over exploding toilets fitted with defective Flushmate flushing systems that were sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s stores. The faulty Flushmate III Pressure-Assisted Flushing Systems were also sold to toilet makers American Standard, Crane, Kohler, Eljer, Mansfield, St. Thomas, and Gerber, and distributors and plumbing contractors, said The LA Times.

Millions of the defective flushing mechanisms have been recalled over having caused toilets to explode creating what the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) described as “laceration risks” for toilet users. In June, the CPSC issued a warning about the Flushmate III Pressure-Assisted Flushing System.

A Las Vegas woman sued Flushmate and its parent company, Sloan Valve Co., in federal court in Los Angeles, California, earlier this month. The plaintiff, Maralee Pelka, said the faulty device caused her toilet to malfunction and leak. The lawsuit also alleges that the repair kit offered in the recall is not adequate and the complete flushing system requires replacement by a professional plumber, wrote The LA Times. Pelka’s lawsuit seeks class-action status and unspecified monetary damages.

The recall affects devices manufactured between October 1997 and February 2008, which comprises about 2,330,600 million of the systems in the United States and 9,400 more in Canada, said The LA Times. The CPSC said that, to date, Flushmate received 304 reports of the system bursting, leading to 14 “impact or laceration injuries.”

Consumers in possession of a toilet outfitted with the faulty flushing system are advised to shut off the toilet’s water connection and contact Flushmate to request a free repair kit, the CPSC advised. Flushmate can be reached, toll-free, at 1.800.303.5123 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or at the firm’s web sites at or

Series 503 Flushmate® III Pressure Assist flushing systems, which were manufactured in the United States, were installed inside toilet tanks. The units are rectangular, black, two-piece vessels that are constructed of injection-molded plastic. The date code/serial number is 16 characters long and located on the label on the top of the Flushmate III. The first six numerals of the serial number are the date code. The date code range for this recall begins with 101497 (October 14, 1997) and continues through 022908 (February 29, 2008). The system sold for $108.

The recall announcement was issued by the CPSC and Health Canada and names Flushmate of New Hudson, Michigan, which is a division of Slone Valve Company, as the manufacturer and explains that the system can burst at or near the vessel weld seam, which releases stored pressure. This pressure can lift the tank lid and shatter the tank, posing impact or laceration hazards to consumers and property damage.

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