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Plastic furnace vent pipes recalled

Metal systems to be installed to avoid hazard from carbon monoxide

As many as a quarter-million American homes have furnaces vented by plastic pipe that can crack or separate and leak carbon monoxide, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced.

As part of an unusual recall announced by the commission, 27 manufacturers have agreed to pay up to $100 million to replace plastic vent pipes used on furnaces in homes across the U.S. High-temperature plastic vent (HTPV) pipe systems that were installed between 1987 and 1995 can "crack or separate at the joints and leak carbon monoxide, presenting a deadly threat to consumers," the safety commission said.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless -gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon based fuel, including natural gas and propane. High-level exposure to 'carbon monoxide can cause death.

Plastic pipes involved in the recall program are Fay or black plastic and are marked with the names "Plexvent," "Plexvent 11"' or "Ultravent." The safety commission said no deaths have been directly attributed to cracked pipes. Consumers will not be charged anything for the replacement.

Mary Jost a spokesperson for an industry group coordinating the recall, said the plastic vent pipe will be replaced with a metal venting system.

Consumers with questions can call (800)758-3688 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.

The companies involved in the recall are: Armstrong Air Conditioning Inc.; Bard Manufacturing Co.; Burnham Corp., Consolidated Industries, Crown Boiler Co.;the Ducane Co. Inc.; Dunkirk Radiator Corp.; Evcon Industries Inc.; Hart & Cooley Inc.; Heat Controller Inc.; International Comfort Products Corp. (USA); Lennox industries Inc.; Nordyne Inc., Peerless Heater Co.; Pennco Inc.; Plexco Inc.; Raypak. Inc.; Rheem Manufacturing Co.; Slant/Fin Corp.; Thermo Products Inc., the Trane Coll', Trianco-Heatmaker Inc., Utica Boilers Inc., Vaillant Corp., Weil-McLain Westcast Inc.; and York International Corp.  

Last update 4/24/00