It’s been more than two years since the CPSC first became aware of problems with the spray-on sealant Stand ‘n Seal—it contained a chemical that can cause extreme respiratory problems in some customers, but was only partially recalled by the manufacturer and then replaced with another product with the exact same chemical—but the CPSC has yet to issue any fines to the company, writes the New York Times. It’s yet another example of how an underfunded, underpowered CPSC fails to protect the public from reckless companies who swap ingredients, lie, and hide important data in order to protect their bottom line.
In 2005, the manufacturer replaced the active ingredient to something called Flexipel S-22WS, and a few weeks later, reports of problems began to trickle in.
Terri Keenan of Kyle, Tex., was one of those callers. Ms. Keenan used the spray in late May 2005 to seal tile in her kitchen and bathroom. Within an hour or so, she began feeling dizzy, thirsty and short of breath. Minutes later, she started foaming at the mouth; then she could not get up from the ground. Her husband rushed her to the hospital, where she remained for five days.
Although federal law requires manufacturers to notify the CPSC within 24 hours of determining that a product might be a health hazard, the company waited for a couple of weeks to say anything—and then, they blamed it on customers not being smart enough to use with proper ventilation (even though in-store advertisements for the product showed it being used in front of a closed window).
It took almost three months to wrangle a recall for the spray, and then the manufacturer simply included an additive to give it a stronger smell, but left the emergency-room chemical untouched.
Finally, in March 2007, Home Depot pulled all cans of Stand ‘n Seal from its shelves and offered rebates to anyone who purchased either the officially tainted cans or the officially good—but still tainted—cans.
(Thanks to Zen!)
“Dangerous Sealer Stayed on Shelves After Recall” [New York Times]