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PVC Recall Deadline Approaching

Apr 2, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has just issued a Media & Consumer Alert regarding the May 1, 2009 deadline for a remedy change in a recall program concerning dangerous home heating vent pipes.

The CPCS announced that a variety of home heating furnace, boiler, and high-temperature plastic vent pipe (HTPV) manufacturers are urging home owners who have not yet responded to the previously-announced 1998 recall, to do so immediately. After May 1, 2009, the remedy—which has been operating continuously for almost 11 years—will change.

The recall, noted the CPSC, originally included about 250,000 Plexvent and Ultravent HTPV pipe systems attached to gas or propane mid-efficiency furnaces and boilers in homes.  The recall was implemented because the HTPV pipes can crack or separate at the joints and leak deadly carbon monoxide (CO) gas. After checking the vent pipes, consumers should call 1-800-758-3688, toll-free, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to sign up for HTPV pipe system replacement.

The recall was first announced in February 1998 and included a variety of remedies; however, for those consumers who register after May 1, 2009 and who choose to repair their systems, the remedy will change and the consumers will then be responsible for up-front payment of parts, labor, and permits, and will be responsible for arranging to have the work performed.

The CPSC is urging consumers to determine whether they have a recalled HTPV pipe system by checking the vent pipes attached to their natural gas or propane furnace or boiler.  Vent pipes subject to this recall can be identified as follows:  The vent pipes are plastic and are colored gray or black; "Plexvent," "Plexvent II," or "Ultravent" is stamped on the vent pipe or printed on stickers placed on pieces used to connect the vent pipes; and the vent pipes are located on furnaces (and the pipes go through the sidewalls of structures) or on boilers.  Other plastic vent pipes, such as white PVC, are not included in the recall, said the CPSC.

Details on the manufacturers and current remedies are listed on the CPSC site at:

CPSC reminds all consumers to have fuel-burning appliances professionally inspected each year to check for cracks or separations in the vents that could allow CO to leak into the home.  In addition, CPSC recommends that every home should have at least one CO alarm.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas and the number one cause of poisoning deaths in this country.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that carbon monoxide can kill a person in minutes if exposed to high levels and reports that hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning due to malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances.

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