Warning on potentially deadly "energy saving wire mesh" - CHOICE # 382

15 August 2008
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Consumers are alerted to a highly hazardous product that claims to cut down on fuel consumption, by up to 30%, of gas stoves.

At a time of high fuel costs, such claim will no doubt impact significantly on an unwary consumer public.

The Consumer Council, in collaboration with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), has conducted a test on the product called "energy saving wire mesh".

The results are nothing short of shocking to its users who will, without their knowledge, be exposing themselves to the danger of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

It was found that the use of the wire mesh when placed under the stove pan support spikes, can increase the concentration of the highly lethal CO gas by more than 40 folds in a matter of a few minutes.

The CO level was more than 7 times in excess of the safety standard under the Hong Kong Domestic Gas Appliances Basic Safety Assessment requirements.

Depending on the concentration and speed of emission, the size of the kitchen and ventilation, carbon monoxide can cause headache, dizziness and nausea - and even death.

As the CO concentration kept rising during the test, for safety reasons the test had to be terminated.

Users are warned to immediately cease using the wire mesh or any similar products to avoid potential tragedy.

They should always consult the appliance agent whenever they intend to buy an accessory for the gas appliance.

Consumers are also urged to report the sales of the wire mesh or similar products in the market to the Customs and Excise Department, the EMSD or the Consumer Council.

The marketing of such claimed energy saving device is not the first time, nor will it be the last. In 1997, the Consumer Council issued a similar severe warning to consumers on a similarly dangerous "energy saving wire net" for gas burner.

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