Toilet flushing systems are being recalled following 14 injuries in explosions involving the defective products, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Health Canada (HC), just announced.
The Flushmate® III Pressure-Assist Flushing System was manufactured in the United States by Flushmate, of New Hudson, Michigan, a division of Sloan Valve Company, and sold at The Home Depot and Lowe’s stores as well as distributors and plumbing contractors, nationwide. The systems, which retailed for about $108, were also sold to toilet manufacturers including American Standard, Crane, Eljer, Gerber, Kohler, Mansfield, and St. Thomas.
In the United States, about 2,330,600 Flushmate® III Pressure-Assist Flushing Systems are being recalled. Another 9,400 systems are being recalled in Canada.
The Sloan Flushmate® III Pressure-Assist Flushing System uses air and water pressure to achieve a powerful flush, explained Reuters; but the defective system can burst inside toilet tanks at or near the vessel weld seam. This bursting releases stored pressure, which can lift the tank lid and shatter the tank, posing impact or laceration hazards to consumers, as well as property damage.
To date, Flushmate has received 304 reports of exploding toilets, which have not only caused property damage, but have led to 14 impact or laceration injuries. As Reuters pointed out, the severity of the injuries remains unclear. Also, noted Reuters, people injured by exploding toilets installed with the Sloan Flushmate® III Pressure-Assist Flushing System may be able to pursue product liability lawsuits alleging a defect in the flushing system’s design.
This recall involves the Series 503 Flushmate® III Pressure Assist flushing systems that are installed inside toilet tanks and were manufactured from October 1997 to February 2008. The units are rectangular, black, two-piece vessels made of injection-molded plastic. The date code/serial number is 16 characters long and can be found on the label on the top of the Flushmate III. The first six numerals of the serial number are the date code. For this recall, the series begins with 101497, representing October 14, 1997, and continues through 022908, which represents February 29, 2008.
The firm advises consumers to immediately turn off the water supply to the recalled Flushmate III unit and stop using the system. Consumers should contact the firm to determine if their Flushmate III serial number is included in the recall and to request a free repair kit. 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 www.flushmate.com or http://recall.flushmate.com.