heatpackWheat bags have been associated with numerous residential fires, serious burns and a fatality in Australia.

CFA representative John Furbank was a member of Standards Australia Technical Committee CS-113 which developed a new Standard to address the design, construction, performance and labelling of heat packs.

John said that bags, filled with wheat and other organic materials, are very popular.  However, injuries have occurred, particularly with the elderly, when heat packs are used instead of hot water bottles, when reheated or left in the microwave for too long.

While the new standard is only voluntary, NSW Fair Trading has said consumers who purchase products which adhere to the standard can have more confidence that the product won’t cause a contact burn or catch fire when used correctly, read more here

This standard applies to wearable products, bags, pillows, children’s products, and similar products that contain organic materials such as what, rice, legumes or herbs.  It does not apply to heat packs filled with chemicals, synthetics, crystals, gels or liquids.

When buying a heat pack, ask for one that has been produced according to the new voluntary safety standard AS/NZS 5116:2016 Microwavable heat packs-wheat and other organic filling materials.

CHOICE outlines tips for using heat bags and ACCC Product Safety Australia identifies Wheat bag fire hazards and has a Wheat bags safety alert

CFA nominates representatives to Standards Australia Technical Committees as part of the CFA Standards Project; if you are interested in finding out more about the Project and/or becoming a volunteer CFA Standards Representative please contact the Standards Coordinator standards@consumeraction.org.au

Picture source: Flickr

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