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US toilets recalled due to explosion risk

22 August 2012

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada have issued a recall notice for more than 2.3 million Sloan Valve Co. Flushmate III toilets after learning that 304 units had blown up. The powerful high-pressure Flushmate III system is designed to conserve water, but the CPSC says the system can burst at the vessel weld seam releasing stored pressure.

Exploding Flushmate III toilets have caused serious laceration injuries
Exploding Flushmate III toilets have caused serious laceration injuries

This pressure can lift the tank lid and shatter the tank, posing impact or laceration hazards to consumers and property damage. 

The explosions destroyed the toilet units, caused home flooding, and, in some cases, sent porcelain shrapnel flying. Some toilet users have been injured by the explosions.

A San Francisco lawyer filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Flushmate seeking more than $5 million in damages.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Flushmate spokesman Paul Deboo said he could not comment on the number, or extent, of bodily injuries caused by the bursting Flushmates.

This suit is not the first to be filed against manufacturers of pressure-assisted toilet devices. Hundreds of Kohler toilets have been exploded, and the company won a lawsuit against subcontractor Watts Water Technologies.

One of the Kohlers exploded in 2007 in the home of a well-to-do couple while they were on vacation. The resulting flood caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. The couple settled the case for $800,000. Kohler has paid out more than $10 million to settle nearly 500 additional claims.

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