Flammable teddy bear wheat bag safety warning

Damien Smith – 7News Sydney – June 20, 2013

FIRST ON 7: Firefighters are warning against the use of wheat bag toys to warm beds, because they can be deadly if instructions are ignored.

7News asked consumer group Choice to conduct a test, with a frightening result.

They might look cute and cuddly, but if the toys are left too long in the microwave they are potential killers.

In the past twelve months fire and rescue attended 32 wheat bag fires where 26 caught alight in the microwaves, and six set beds on fire.

Authorities warn that the products should not be used as bed warmers.

“They will generate heat long after they’re taken out of the microwave oven,” NSW Fire and Rescue Superintendent Tom Cooper said.

There are reports that the wheat bags can start a fire even up to three to four hours later.

Caringbah pensioner Margaret Rae died after a wheat bag set her bed alight in 2011.

Heated wheat bags are often used for pain relief.

A wheat bag manufacturer has told 7News that there is no problem if the instructions are followed. Choice did that for its first test.

“I mean you could touch that temperature, but you wouldn’t want to hold it,” toy tester Chris Barnes said.

There are instructions on the packaging and on the wheat bag itself but not everyone, let alone children reads instructions; and that’s where they can become very dangerous.

Choice set the microwave to 20 minutes, and less than eight minutes later the toy started to burn, giving off toxic fumes.

The Department of Fair Trading wants the wheat bag toys off the shelves, but not because of the fire risk.

“Obviously we’ve got concerns about the product on a number of levels,” Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said.

“The Velcro [can] be opened and the contents of the bag split and potentially ingested or inhaled.”

Supermarket Sued over Hot Water Bottle Injuries

Supermarket Sued over Hot Water Bottle Injuries

May 8th 2011

A Father is suing a WA Supermarket after a $2.99 Hot Water Bottle burst,causing serious burns to himself and 10 year old son.

The father claims the hot water bottle he bought from the store in June 2009 was faulty and it burst when he filled it with hot water,causing burns to his right arm, back and to his son’s right leg.

The writ claims the sale breached the terms of contract because the hot water bottle was  not “merchantable quality” and not fit for the purpose for which it was sold.

The Department of Consumer Protection said eight hot water bottles had to be removed from WA shelves last winter after 37 stores were inspected.

Seven of the same brand did not meet labelling standards while one failed on a technicality because the label had been removed.

On average 200 hundred Australians are treated in hospital every year for hot water bottle burns.

In 2008 a product safety law came into force meaning hot water bottles made or imported into Australia must comply with standards relating to thickness,durability and have warning lables.                                                                                           l

TGA Australia info on recall of hot/cold Gel Packs

Theraeutic Goods Administration

TGA – safeguarding public health & safety in Australia by regulating medicines, medical devices, blood & tissues

Home > Safety information > Alerts/advisories > Hot/cold gel packs > Update

Safety information

Updated urgent safety advisory – Hot/cold gel packs

24 September 2008

A number of brands of hot/cold gel packs are being recalled following testing by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of contents for ethylene glycol, a toxic substance. Testing was undertaken following the previous recall of Thermoskin® hot/cold gel packs to determine if the problem was more widespread.

All sponsors of gel hot/cold packs were contacted by the TGA to obtain information regarding the contents of their products and to obtain samples for testing. It has now been confirmed that some of these other products also contain ethylene glycol.

All the brands of gel hot/cold packs, listed below, that were found to contain ethylene glycol are being recalled.

Notices advising consumers of these recalls will also appear in the media as soon as the sponsors of the affected products are able to obtain advertising space in national newspapers. In the meantime recall letters will be sent directly to pharmacies and other outlets selling the affected products.

The TGA reiterates that parents should ensure that all gel hot/cold packs are kept out of reach of children and are only used under adult supervision. In the event of accidental ingestion patients are urged to attend the nearest emergency department immediately for assessment and further management.

Type 2 Diabetes Info

If you’re concerned about developing type 2 diabetes,
A healthy diet and regular physical activity have been rightly identified as keys to preventing and controlling diabetes. However, what has not been recognized is that regular consumption of a key form of chromium could virtually eliminate diabetes along with sensible eating and being even modestly active.

“More than 50 years ago the trace element chromium was identified as an essential nutrient at the National Institutes of Health by Dr. Klaus Schwartz due to its role in blood sugar metabolism. A molecule named Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF) was found to be primarily composed of chromium. Dr. Walter Mertz, an assistant to Dr. Schwartz at the time, noted in 1959 ‘Type II diabetes is not a disease. It is the lack of a natural ingredient, known as GTF chromium.’

“Chromium works together with insulin in providing sugar to the cells for energy. If chromium levels decrease there is a corresponding decrease in sugar delivery from insulin. Modern medical terms such as ‘insulin resistance’ and ‘insulin sensitivity’ should be more accurately replaced with ‘gross chromium deficiency’.

“As health historian Christopher C. Barr explained, insulin is a transport mechanism. It is like a truck that transports glucose to be unloaded at the cells insulin receptors.

“Chromium rich GTF molecules are like dock workers, which assist getting the sugar (glucose) to the insulin receptors. If there are less and less GTF ‘dock workers’ then the work of providing sugar to the cells becomes unproductive. A traffic jam of insulin ‘trucks’ in the blood stream results in higher and higher blood sugar levels as the problems of chromium deficiency increases over time.

“The right form of chromium is whole foods grown GTF chromium, and the right daily amount is about 100 micrograms taken three times daily.”

Adelaide Health Service

Warning about keeping warm with wheat bags

The Royal Adelaide Hospital Burns Unit is warning people to be very careful when using wheat bags that are heated in microwave ovens, following a spate of serious burns cases.

Burns Unit Director, Dr John Greenwood, says people with conditions such as diabetes should be especially careful when using these small wheat bags, as they can heat to very high temperatures and cause serious injury.

“We have seen patients with deep burns who have been unable to feel how hot the wheat bags actually are due to reduced sensation in their feet in particular, as a result of conditions like diabetes,” he says.

“One patient presented with the soles of his feet deeply burned due to prolonged exposure to a wheat bag that was overheated in a microwave oven.”

Dr Greenwood urges everyone, particularly the frail and elderly, to be very careful when using these types of items to provide heat to parts of the body.

“The problem worsens as the wheat bag gets older – with older bags you can sometimes actually smell the wheat burning in the microwave. Older bags get hotter at the same microwave temperature and retain heat for longer.”

Hot water bottles can pose similar risks, with Burns Unit staff witness to numerous serious burns and even a death caused by a hot water bottle.

Dr Greenwood says most hot water bottle-related injuries can be traced either to bottles not manufactured to Australian (and British) standards, leaks or ruptures, or bottles not being used according to safety instructions (either overfilled, water too hot or too much weight or pressure placed on the full bottle).

“These products are designed to be placed in the bed to warm the sheets or for the short term relief from such ailments as muscle strains. They should be removed before you get into bed, not cuddled like a teddy bear,” he says.

Dr Greenwood urges people to be very careful and to throw away the wheat bags after using them each winter. Similarly, hot water bottles are usually only good for one or two seasons before rubber fatigue sets in.

“The cost of replacing them regularly is nothing compared to the damage and pain they can cause if not used properly.”