The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry issued an emergency order Monday afternoon for Paloma Industries Ltd. to recall its defective gas water heaters in connection with 21 deaths over a 20-year span from carbon monoxide poisoning, ministry officials said.
Eiichi Ito –
, spokesman for Paloma Industries Ltd., faces reporters Monday at the company’s headquarters in Mizuho Ward.
Paloma has already been voluntarily recalling seven types of heaters in connection with the carbon monoxide poisonings. The seven are subject to the recall.
The order, based on a law for the safety of daily-use products, makes the recall mandatory, and the officials said it will speed up the recall of the defective heaters.
It is the second time METI has issued such an order. Last November, it ordered Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. to recall kerosene heaters, also following carbon monoxide poisonings that involved fatalities.
Nagoya-based Paloma, and its parent company, which sells the water heaters, began recalling and replacing the seven types in July with new models for free.
Between 1985 and 2005, Paloma had 28 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning that claimed 21 lives.
Paloma officials said in the morning it had recalled 7,734 units as of Sunday, after having checked 17,851 units.
The company hopes to replace those recalled with new products or with products made by other manufacturers, and complete the replacement by the end of November, the officials said at a news conference.
About 260,000 of the units have been sold since 1980, and up to 18,000 are believed to have been in use as of July, when the ministry disclosed the poisonings.
The rest apparently were replaced or discarded, according to METI.
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