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Water heaters manufactured by Paloma Ltd. have caused 17 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning resulting in 15 deaths between 1985 and 2005, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday.

The poisonings were caused by a defect in the exhaust fans in four types of water heaters — PH-81F, PH-101F, PH-102F and PH-131F, which were manufactured between 1980 and 1989, according to the ministry.

Carbon monoxide poisonings caused by the faulty heaters were reported in Hokkaido, Nagano, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka and Nara prefectures.

The ministry has ordered Paloma to inspect three other models that have structures similar to those implicated in the poisonings, and ordered gas companies to check them as well.

Users of the seven types of water heaters are being advised to look the heaters over to make sure the exhaust fans are working properly until the inspections by the company are completed.

The ministry also ordered Paloma to set up a customer service office to deal with the problem and repair the heaters, and to submit a report detailing how the poisonings occurred.

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