A quartz portable work light, sold by major retailers and found in homes, workshops, garages, and on construction sites across the U.S., is unreasonably dangerous for many of the situations for which it is purchased and used, claims a law suit filed in U.S. District Court, Dallas, TX.
The light, imported from China by EML Technologies, LLC, and marketed under different product names in the U.S. by retailers such as Home Depot, Lowes and Sears, exceeds U.S. safety standards for heat generation, according to Zamarripa vs. Hernandez, cause number DC-08-01457- K. EML is the only defendant in the case.
“This is another example of a cheap Chinese product being sold in the U.S. that does not meet U.S. safety standards and poses unnecessary risk to consumers,” said attorney Rick Garcia.
Although it is sold as a general purpose work light, according to EML, the light should not be used around any flammable materials or fumes, including painting, glued carpet laying and auto repair, or anything involving paper, fabric or wood products, Garcia said.
“None of this is mentioned in the owner’s manual or on warning labels. Clearly, if you exclude common home and vehicle repair and maintenance jobs, this is not an all-purpose work light. Our testing shows it’s clearly not suitable for many of tasks for which the light may be purchased,” Garcia said.
The case was filed was filed on behalf of Hilario Zamarripa, 46, of Dallas, TX, who was severely burned over nearly 20% of his body in 2007, when a Husky work light ignited paint fumes and caused an explosion in the house where he was working.
According to the suit, the light fails to meet U.S. safety standards which state that the exterior surface temperature of a portable work light not exceed 194-degrees Fahrenheit. Independent testing shows the light’s surface exceeds 300-degrees Fahrenheit, Garcia said. The light was last certified as meeting U.S. safety standards in 2000, according to the importer’s deposition.
Furthermore, the light’s product warning labels are inadequate and confusing, Garcia said. In English the warning reads, in part “Warning – risk of fire/injury. To persons keep away from combustibles.” In Spanish, it reads in part, “Warning. Like products material or paper, keep away from combustibles.” The Spanish version omits the risk of fire or injury, and neither warning mentions fumes or vapors, which can be ignited by the light, or defines a safe distance, Garcia said.
EML Technologies reports 820,000 of the work light have been sold in the U.S. since 2003, according to court papers. The case is scheduled to go to trial August 23, 2010.