A nationwide recall says your toilet may be dangerous
Lindsey Morone and Cody Holyoke
Cody Holyoke reports.Photo: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - The recall affects more than 2 million toilets. Even though the recall was issued about year ago, there's still thousands of models out there that could be dangerous and have the potential to explode.
You don't have to worry about every model, just those with an added feature designed to reduce clogging and use less water. While most of the devices are safe, a recall put out last year says some may burst without warning.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled the Flushmate 3 toilet flushing system because it can explode randomly. According to the report, the pressure tank seal can rupture and literally cause a toilet to shatter into pieces. One man says the moment he flushed the toilet, the porcelain exploded and slashed his back. The man needed 30 stitches.
In his 33 years as a plumber, Robert William Ashton hasn't seen anything this serious. He explains, "It looks like a very large wound, my guess is 6-7 inches. Due to the fact that it hit the guy, he was probably shocked, stood up, and it just sliced him more."
According to the recall, more than 2.3 million of these flush assist products have been sold in the U.S. There are more than 300 reports of explosions, and 14 people have been hurt by them.
In a statement, Flushmate tells us the company "has free repair kits for every recalled Flushmate 3," and that, "Many of its customers have requested the repair kit and it continues to receive and respond diligently to repair kit requests."
Personal injury attorney Mike Picarretta sees a problem with those fixes. He warns, "It would seem to me that if the company really wants to rectify the problem, they need to give you compensation so you can have a plumber install it, as opposed to go through a process where you might do it right, you might do it wrong, or go through the inconvenience of having to do your own plumbing."
Despite the recall, plumbers maintain flush assist systems are a safe way to avoid jammed johns.
So how do you know if your toilet is affected? You need to lift the tank. If there is a large black device labeled Flushmate 3, disconnect the water input immediately and call Flushmate to get the repair kit at no charge. They can be reached at 1-800-303-5123.