Safety agency recalls thousands of holiday lights and timers

Wednesday, December 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Three companies are recalling 109,000 strings of holiday lights and 50,000 outdoor light timers because they could cause electric shocks and start fires.

NBG International Inc., of Houston, is recalling 100,000 ``Rice Light'' strings of lights that are 21-feet long with 140 non-replaceable mini-bulbs. The attached 3-inch control box has a round dial numbered ''1'' through ''8.''

The Christmas lights are sold in a green box with the writing ``Rice Light,'' ''140 Mini Bulb String'' and ``MADE IN CHINA.'' The wires come in three colors: black, white or green.

Novelty and holiday stores sold these lights from June 1998 through November 2001 for between $7 and $10.

Winstar International Inc., of New York, is recalling 9,000 strings of lights with 100 lights on each string in various colors, including green, blue, red, yellow, purple and clear. The plug has ''125V-3A'' printed on it.

The packaging is a red box with a photo of a Christmas tree and a window showing the lights inside. Writing on the box includes: ``JUEGO DE LUCES DE NAVIDAD,'' ''100 MINIATURE LIGHTS,'' ``FIVE-WAY FLASHER,'' ``PRE-TESTED,'' and ``ENERGY SAVER.''

Discount and dollar stores in New York and New Jersey sold these Christmas lights from October 2000 through November 2001 for about $1. Consumers should return the lights to the store where purchased for a refund.

Homemaster Inc., of Eatontown, N.J., is recalling 50,000 Outdoor Lighting Timers because they have reversed polarity in the wiring, potentially allowing a current to flow through a person's body.

The dark green timers have the model number ``HOT100'' printed on the back and a timing switch on the front. A three-prong plug at the end of a green cord extends from the top of the 5-inch-long timer.

Menards stores sold the timers from October 2000 through October 2001 for about $10.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday that consumers should stop using these products and avoid any lights that have damaged wires or lack the mark of a recognized testing lab such as ``UL'' or ``ETL.''

Consumers should also replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs and only use lights outdoors that are rated for that use.

For more information, consumers can call the safety commission at 1-800-638-2772.