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Consumer watchdog Which? has called for manufacturers to stop making fire risk fridges, freezers and fridge freezers, labelling existing British Standards of cold appliances ‘deficient’ and ‘inadequate.
Following a recent review of cold appliance safety, Which? has written to manufacturers to urge them to stop using non-flame retardant plastic backing on fridges, freezers and fridge freezers, due to their potential to accelerate the spread of fire.
It is appealing for manufacturers to take immediate voluntary action to end production of these appliances and for the industry to agree to tougher safety standards for fridges, freezers and fridge freezers.
If follows the plea of editor of Kitchens & Bathrooms News Philippa Turrell, in 2016, who said the appliance industry must do better to prevent disasters and improve duty of care.
Which? has also stopped recommending the purchase of any fridge, freezer or fridge freezer with non-flame retardant plastic backing on its website and noted safety concerns on more than 230 models.
It has taken the precautionary position after evidence from the London Fire Brigade indicated the risk of a fire spreading is greater with non-flame retardant plastic backing.
However, it advises consumers who already own the models that fires are rare. Which’s research in July 2015 into Government fire data found only 7% of fires caused by faulty appliances were caused by faulty fridges, freezers and fridge freezers.
Managing director of Which? home and product services Alex Neill said: “People who already have one of these models in their homes shouldn’t be alarmed, but our advice is that no-one should purchase one from new. Manufacturers must immediately stop making fridges, freezers and fridge freezers to a standard that they know is clearly deficient and inadequate, and could potentially be putting people’s lives at risk. “This once again shows that the UK’s product safety regime is simply not fit for purpose and the Government can no longer continue to allow it to fail.”