Monday, 02 Feb, 2009 Offbeat

Manufacturers Warn About Japanese Toilet Seat Taking Fire


Recently the makers of electric toilet seats, which feature a warm water bidet, alerted users of a possible fire risk. The announcement came shortly after a number of fire incidents took place as a result of defects and/or improper usage of the toilets. The companies that develop the electric toilet seats offer their customers flyers that include images about the correct usage of the device and information on past accidents.

It is worth mentioning that the electric toilet seats went into mass production in 1980 and a survey carried out by the Cabinet Office shows that currently 68.3 percent of all households in Japan have at least one such toilet.

As the device has been getting more popular the number of accidents continuously increased. The country's major producer of toilet seats is INAX Corp.. One of its electric seat toilets in Tokyo caught fire which was caused by a short circuit that occurred as a result of excess current in a circuit board incorporated in the unit. The device doesn't have any additional tool to prevent power surge, reports Daily Yomiuri Online.

Another model created by INAX caught fire in September in Kumamoto Prefecture. Experts stated that the fire-related accident took place when urine or toilet cleaning fluid got into contact with the electrical cable. Shortly after the accident the company decided to check 660,000 of its toilets. Due to poor electric contact, another Japanese toilet manufacturer TOTO Ltd. stated it would check 180,000 devices free of charge.

Nevertheless a committee, composed of 10 manufactures of electric seat toilets, stated that the fire-related accidents were most likely caused by improper usage. Since 1991 manufacturers reported about 152 fire and smoke accidents. The committee found that 24 of them might have been caused by improper usage.

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