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Hot Water Bottle Safety Warning

29 August 2005

Hot Water Bottle Safety Warning

The Commerce Commission is warning people about hot water bottles which breach an unsafe goods notice and may not be safe to use.

Since November 2004 the Commission has received seven contacts about hot water bottles, including one where the bottle had burst during use.

Investigations found that some hot water bottles on the New Zealand market failed to meet the standard requirements for marking and labelling.

The Commission reached a settlement with one Auckland-based importer for supplying 54 retailers with hot water bottles that did not comply with the standard. The importer has agreed to recall all the sub-standard hot water bottles.

In November 2004 the Ministry of Consumer Affairs passed the Unsafe Goods (Rubber Hot Water Bottles) Notice 2004, effectively banning hot water bottles that don't meet the British Standard (BS1970:2001).

To meet the British standard, hot water bottles must be manufactured to certain specifications, such as the thickness of the rubber casing. Hot water bottles that comply should be permanently and legibly marked with the Standard number, date of manufacture and be labelled with the words: "WARNING - HOT WATER BOTTLES CAN CAUSE BURNS, AVOID PROLONGED DIRECT CONTACT WITH SKIN".

The Commission is working with retailers to ensure that non-compliant hot water bottles are taken off the market. It an offence under the Fair Trading Act to supply goods which are declared to be unsafe goods.

"Anyone buying a hot water bottle should check with the retailer that it meets the safety standard," said Graham Gill of the Commission's Fair Trading Division.

"If the retailer can't tell them, or they have any concerns about a hot water bottle they've purchased, they can contact the Commission."

The Commerce Commission's freephone number is 0800 943 6000.


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