While there are checks on the quality of appliances that intend to make them safer for consumers to use, unfortunately that doesn’t always result in any actual changes. Say an appliance is recalled after it’s found that there are consistent problems with it; how often do consumers even hear that their appliance has been recalled and if they do hear about it, will they really send it back?
The inability to alert people to the dangerous malfunctions of their appliances has led to unnecessary risk and harm to consumers for decades, but that all might be about to change in the state of Michigan.
Michigan’s legislature is about to pass a law that will decree that appliance manufacturers are responsible for making every owner of their brand aware of a recall on their products. Retailers will also be involved, forwarding the name, address and phone numbers of everyone to which they sell whatever relevant appliance.
The law is written as follows:
“If the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission issues a product recall of a household appliance before or within three years after the data the household appliance is purchased, the manufacturer of that household appliance shall repair the defect for which the product is issued, without charge to the owner of the household appliance. As used in this section, household appliance means any gas or electric appliance that is used in the home, including, but not limited to, a stove, heating device, cooking device, refrigerator, air conditioner, vacuum cleaner, electric fan, clock radio, toaster, iron, television set, washing machine, dryer or dishwasher… This amendatory act takes effect 90 days after the date it is enacted into law.”
What led up to this act, which promises to improve consumer safety in Michigan for eons to come? Apparently House Bills 5680 and 5681 were drafted as a result of a long list of conversations between legislatures and concerned citizens with fire experts from all around the world.
Fire fighters know that certain kinds of smoke detectors, like ionization smoke detectors for example, don’t work like they should with smoldering fires. With smoldering fires, the real danger is not the hot flame but the smoke, which if breathed in by a sleeping person can cause suffocation. Unfortunately, this shortcoming has led to many otherwise avoidable deaths by buyers of ionization fire detectors.
One worried citizen of Michigan realized that 95% of homes in the country have ionization type smoke detectors because they cost less. A photoelectric smoke detector reacts to smoke in seconds, but cost considerably more upfront. The new bills also mandate that homes built after 1974 be equipped with photoelectric detectors in order to meet state construction codes.
While manufacturers of smoke detectors have raised numerous objections to the laws, the most important concerns are those of the average citizen that expects their smoke detector to alert them of and protect them from all aspects of a fire in every circumstance. It’s time that appliance manufacturers be held responsible for the safety of their products in the hands of their customers. After all, a truly innovative kitchen is a safe kitchen.