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Glade PlugIns® Fire Hazard Hoax

Summary:
Email claims that houses have been burnt down by Glade PlugIns® air fresheners (Full commentary below.)



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted via email, June 2004)
Subject: Safety warning

i was sent this from a forward this isnt anybody i know however,, its good to know stuff like this

Friends,
My brother and his wife learned a hard lesson this last week. Their house burned down...nothing left but ashes. They have good insurance, so the home will be replaced and most of the contents. That is the good news. However, they were sick when they found out the cause of the fire.

The insurance investigator sifted through the ashes for several hours. He had the cause of the fire traced to the master bathroom. He asked my sister-in-law what she had plugged in in the bathroom. She listed the normal things. ...curling iron,blow dryer. He kept saying to her, "No, this would be something that would disintegrate at high temperatures." Then, my sister-in-law remembered she had a Glade Plug-in in the bathroom. The investigator had one of those "Aha" moments. He said that was the cause of the fire. He said he has seen more home fires started with the plug in type room fresheners than anything else. He said the plastic they are made from is a THIN plastic. He said in every case there was nothing left to prove that it even existed. When the investigator looked in the wall plug, the two prongs left from the plug-in were still in there.

My sister-in-law had one of the plug-ins that had a small night light built in it. She said she had noticed that the light would dim....and then finally go out. She would walk in a few hours later, and the light would be back on again. The Investigator said that the unit was getting too hot, and would dim and go out rather than just blow the light bulb. Once it cooled down, it would come back on. That is a warning sign.

The investigator said he personally wouldn't have any type of plug in fragrance device anywhere in his house. He has seen too many burned down homes.

Thought I would warn you all. I had several of them plugged in my house. I immediately took them all down.




Commentary:
A common visitor to inboxes at the moment is an email that falsely claims that houses have been burnt down by Glade PlugIns® air fresheners.

Like many similar in-box "warnings" there are no verifiable facts in the email. Neither the names of the fire victims, nor the name of the city where the alleged fire took place are mentioned in the email. In short, the claims made in the email are completely unsubstantiated.

SC Johnson has released a statement (reproduced below) in response to this hoax email. In my opinion, the statement clearly refutes the claims made in the email and should alleviate any concerns held by users of the product.

Please note that this article is specifically about Glade PlugIns® and the claims made in this particular email forward. As stated, I am satisfied that the information in this email is false. However, I am not stating, or even implying, that all brands of plugin style air fresheners are necessarily safe, as I do not have enough conclusive information to make such a judgment. A number of unsubstantiated reports have linked plug-in air freshener devices to fires. I do not know if there is any truth in these reports. To reiterate, my comments target the information in this email forward and this email forward only. Therefore, my comments should not be interpreted as a claim that all reports about links between plugin air fresheners and fires are false. I do not, and would not make any such claim.

Further Reading:
http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/news/7onYourSide/WABC_7side_041902fresheners.html
http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_plug_in_air_freshener.htm
http://www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/pluginfire.html
http://www.snopes.com/toxins/glade.asp

Company Response to Internet Rumor on Glade PlugIns®

SC Johnson recently learned that there have been postings on the Internet that have claimed that our products were involved in fires. It is important that you know that all of our PlugIns® products are safe and will not cause fires. We know this because PlugIns® products have been sold for more than 15 years and hundreds of millions of the products are being used safely. Because we are committed to selling safe products, SC Johnson thoroughly investigated these rumors. First, we confirmed that no one had contacted SC Johnson to tell us about these fires or to ask us to investigate them. Additionally, we had a leading fire investigation expert call the fire department representative who is identified in one of the Internet postings. That fireman indicated that he has no evidence that our products had caused any fire.

We suspect this rumor may be associated with a past SC Johnson voluntary recall of one of its air freshener products, a Glade® Extra Outlet Scented Oil product that was sold for a short period before June 1, 2002. After discovering an assembly error in a small number of that product, SC Johnson implemented a voluntary recall and provided extensive information about the product to the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission (CPSC). After revising the manufacturing process and thorough testing for proper assembly, the Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil Extra Outlet product returned to store shelves on June 3, 2002. SC Johnson has no knowledge of any credible reports of fire related to this product. We also know that our products do not cause fires because all of our PlugIns® products have been thoroughly tested by Underwriters Laboratories and other independent laboratories and our products meet or exceed safety requirements. SC Johnson continues to work closely with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate allegations involving PlugIns® products.

As a more than 100-year-old, family-owned company, SC Johnson is committed to providing top quality products that can be used safely in homes and we want to reassure you that PlugIns® products can be used with complete confidence.



Write-up by Brett M.Christensen