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Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin Warns Consumers of Possible Dangers with Gel Fuel Firepots and Tiki Torches

Attorney General Kilmartin today warned consumers to take precautions when using “illuminating fuels” in firepots and tiki torches, and to add fuel only when the vessel is “cool to the touch.”

The warning came after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced it had initiated an investigation into serious burn incidents in New York related to gel fuel used in decorative firepots. While the investigation is ongoing, the Attorney General and CPSC remind consumers to be aware of the burn and poisoning hazards that can occur from using illuminating fuels in firepots, tiki torches and other products that use gel fuel.

“With summer in full swing and Rhode Islanders enjoying more time outdoors, it’s important to remember that hazards can exist in our own backyards,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “Before you light the tiki torches or firepots, please understand the potential dangers of these gel fuel products, follow the directions and, most importantly, do not allow children to use or play with these potentially dangerous products.”

The CPSC recommends that consumers never refill a hot product as this can create a serious situation of the fuel splattering and burning those nearby. Adding fuel to an open-flame is a potentially hazardous activity, with a risk of burns and uncontrolled fires. It is important to follow proper safety guidelines when refueling any open-flame device. CPSC staff recommends that consumers first look for flames, then cautiously feel the vicinity of the flame, as some flames are difficult to see. Only add fuel when the flames are extinguished and the container is cool to the touch. Never pour fuel over an open flame.

Consumers should keep the fuel out of the reach of young children and when not in use, store it away from children. Always securely replace the child resistant cap after use. Most illuminating fuels are sold in special child-resistant packaging because they generally consist of petroleum distillates, a specific class of hydrocarbon chemicals.

This class of chemicals is particularly hazardous if ingested and aspirated into the lungs, where it can cause chemical pneumonia, pulmonary edema, or death. Illuminating fuels should never be transferred to other containers, as young children may mistake the new container with containers of common drink items.

Voluntary Recall on Booster Seats Sold Exclusively at Target Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin also announced that the CPSC, in cooperation with Target stores, has issued a voluntary recall of Circo Child Booster Seats based on reports that the booster seat’s restraint buckle can open unexpectedly, allowing a child to fall from the chair and be injured.

The recall involves all Circo Booster Seats sold exclusively at Target between January 2005 and June 2009. The plastic booster seats are blue with green trim and a white plastic restraint buckle. They attach to an adult chair to boost a child to a table. “Circo” and “Booster Seat” can be found on a green label located in the front of the booster seat.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled booster seats and return them to any Target store for a full refund. For additional information, contact Target at (800) 440-0680 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.target.com.

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