(NC) A growing number of harmful counterfeit electrical products in Canada are raising concerns about consumer safety. These products by-pass the quality controls that ensure relevant safety standards are met to protect against electrical shock and fire hazards. The number of harmful counterfeit electrical products represented 12% of products seized last year. These can include electrical appliances, electronics and cables, chargers and adapters, extension cords and powerbars, lamps and ballasts, smoke detectors, and electrical components like circuit breakers, fuses, receptacles, ground fault circuit interrupters and conduit fittings. Using counterfeit electrical components for home renovations can be especially dangerous. If installed in a home's electrical system, these can advance electrical fire concerns from potential short circuits and overheating.
Follow these basic steps to beware and to buy safe:
- Probe: Research electrical products to confirm there are no published recalls.
- Place: Buy from established retailers or vendors, and use extra caution when buying second hand or on-line.
- Product: Know the manufacturer or brand, and ensure the product quality and appearance are satisfactory.
- Package: Look for a certification mark on the packaging, and ensure that manufacturer and product information is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
- Price: If it is too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have safety concerns regarding an electrical product that you believe is unsafe stop using it and contact the manufacturer or retailer where you purchased the product, or Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety Division.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International Canada encourages you to share these consumer safety steps to protect family, friends and neighbours. More information can be found online at www.esfi.ca.