MPs have warned there could be up to one million defective tumble dryers that have been blamed for causing hundreds of fires in UK homes.
A report by the Business Committee, which is looking to bolster fire safety standards for household electrical goods in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, said its alert was a consequence of an “inadequate response” to the dryer issue by manufacturer Whirlpool.
Whirlpool alerted authorities in 2015 that fires could be caused by fluff catching on a heating element in dryers marketed under its Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda and Proline brands.
The defect has been blamed for 750 fires since 2004 while a second defect in the door mechanism of some Whirlpool products was blamed for a fire in Llanwrst, north Wales, which killed two men in 2014.
The Grenfell fire, in June last year, killed 71 people. It is believed to have been sparked by a fault in a Hotpoint fridge-freezer.
Image: MPs are investigating risks from faulty electrical goods in the wake of the Grenfell fire
In their criticism of Whirlpool, MPs also demanded the Government consider establishing a single National Product Safety Agency amid fears that cuts have undermined the effectiveness of local trading standards agencies.
They also accused ministers of “watering down” recommendations for an overhaul of the product recall system put forward in 2016 by an independent review led by Lynn Faulds Wood.
Committee chair, Labour’s Rachel Reeves, said of the tumble dryer alert: “Whirlpool’s woeful response to the defect in its tumble dryers has caused huge worry to people with these appliances in their homes.
“Their delayed and dismissive response to correcting these defects has been inadequate and we call on Whirlpool to resolve issues urgently.”
The company insisted it had acted properly.
Its statement said: “After two years of extensive measures to raise awareness to this campaign – including directly contacting four million owners of these appliances – the number of consumers coming forward has fallen sharply.
“We continue to urge consumers to contact us immediately if they believe they still own an affected appliance. We can assure consumers that they if they contact us now, they can receive a resolution within one week.”
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The Government’s top priority is to keep people safe and Britain’s product safety requirements are among the highest in the world, which is why weestablished the Working Group on Product Safety and Recalls to examine the evidence of Lynn Faulds Wood’s independent review.
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“We are considering their recommendations, including the creation of a new national oversight body, and will respond shortly.
“We have already taken a number of steps to improve our product safety regime, including upgrading the Government’s recalls website to make it clear to the public which white goods are safe to use.”