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Which? calls for tougher fridge tests now

UK: Consumer group Which? has called on manufacturers to implement tougher testing immediately and voluntarily on all new domestic fridges.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, Which? called for an end to fridges using non-flame retardant plastic backs, which can accelerate the spread of fire as previously highlighted by the London Fire Brigade.

More stringent fire tests are included in a new refrigeration safety standard but, according to Which?, that’s currently more than 12 months away from being implemented.

As a result of new tests carried out by the group further exposing the flammability of the plastic backing, Which? is calling on manufacturers to implement tougher testing immediately and voluntarily.

To pass the tougher testing of the new standard, the plastic backing should be able to withstand an open flame for at least 30 seconds. A new video produced by Which? shows two separate samples of non-flame-retardant plastic backing set alight after just 10 seconds.

Which? also also tested refrigeration backings made of metal and aluminium laminate. It reports that not only did they not catch fire after the 30-second test, but they didn’t ignite after being subjected to an open flame for a full five minutes. Further tests are now being conducted across all refrigeration brands.

The current British Standard requires refrigerators to pass a glow wire test to assess fire resistance. This test involves putting a hot wire through a sample of the appliance’s backing material and seeing if it catches alight. All fridges, freezers and fridge freezers currently pass this test, says Which?

“Manufacturers must put consumer safety first and immediately stop making fridges, freezers and fridge freezers to a standard that they know is clearly deficient and could potentially be putting people’s lives at risk,” said Which? home and product services MD Alex Neill.

The consumer group admits that fridge fires are rare. Research in 2015 found that only 7% of fires caused by faulty appliances were caused by these appliances.

Related stories:

Fridge safety standards “inadequate”21 September 2017
UK: Consumer group Which? has called for an end to fridges using non-flame retardant plastic backs and describes current safety standards as “inadequate”. Read more…

LFB demands action on fridge standards – 21 August 2017
UK: The London Fire Brigade has demanded action on manufacturing standards for fridges and freezers following the Grenfell Tower fire in June. Read more…

Fridge freezer caused Grenfell fire – 23 June 2017
UK: The UK government has ordered an immediate examination of the fridge freezer confirmed today as the source of the Grenfell Tower fire in London earlier this month. Read more…

Fridge safety standards must change – 25 June 2017
COMMENT: The Grenfell Tower fire will undoubtedly have far reaching consequences for the way we live, the way we construct and renovate our buildings and the way we deal with fires in high rise buildings. Read more…

Study pinpoints fridge fire hazards – 5 March 2017
UK: A number of components and flammable materials used in domestic refrigerators are identified in a new study into the reported 300 fridge fires a year in Great Britain. Read more…

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