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The consumer body Which? has highlighted the Fridge fire hazard after discovering 250 of the most popular fridges and freezers on sale in the UK could pose a danger.
Following its investigation into the safety of fridges and freezers Which? has demanded retailers cease selling the “at risk” models.
Fridge fire hazard posed by plastic backing
The organisation said the backing material on almost half of all the appliances tested was made from plastic that posed a Fridge fire hazard.
Its list of 250 models to avoid buying includes appliances made by leading manufacturers such as Hotpoint, Smeg, Candy, Hotpoint, Kenwood, Zanussi, Indesit, Whirlpool, Hoover, AEG, Bush and Ikea.
Last year, 1,873 fires were caused by domestic electrical white goods such as dishwashers and fridge freezers in England, the equivalent of five fires a day.
A fridge freezer was the initial cause of the fire which claimed more than 70 lives at Grenfell Tower in West London on June 14, 2017, and Electrical Safety First is calling on the government to provide free mandatory electrical checks for homes in tower blocks.
Plastic backing leaves fridge insulation vulnerable to fire
Considering the Which? findings, the London Fire Brigade said doors and side panels of some fridges and freezers had flammable plastic backing which offered little protection against highly flammable foam insulation inside the appliance catching light if a fire started.
Which? said it accepted that fires due to refrigeration faults were rare, with its own research showing that fridge-freezers, fridges or freezers were to blame in only eight per cent of fires caused by faulty appliances.
It also said the plastic backing material did not in itself cause fires but it did accelerate them.
UK’s white goods must meet some strict safety laws
Despite the Fridge fire hazard, manufacturers selling white goods in the UK must meet some of the strictest safety laws in the world and we are working with Which? and other parties to see whether standards can be made even more stringent.