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Hazards and Dangers of Touch Control Lamps

Dawn Sutton

Touch lamps are a wonderfully convenient invention. People especially appreciate touch control lamps beside their beds, as they can be turned off and on with a simple touch instead of probing around for the on/off switch.

There are hazards associated with touch lamps.

Unfortunately, there have been some safety hazards associated with touch lamps, and certain kinds have even been recalled.

Overheating Can Cause A Fire Hazard

In October 2010, Sears Canada announced a recall of certain ceramic touch lamps due to potential overheating creating a fire hazard. The lamp is a beige accent-style lamp with a swirl ceramic body. It has brass-plated accents and comes with a pleated fabric shade. This lamp was sold between January 2007 and December 2008 through the Sears catalogue and online, model number 44395053. After one reported overheating incident, Sears Canada has advised customers to stop using this lamp immediately and has promised to post warning signs in stores to alert customers to this safety hazard. A full refund will be provided when it is returned.

Electric Shock Hazards

A power surge may damage the safety X/Y capacitors in the circuit, which could cause an electric shock. Screw-type touch lamp holders or those with bayonet fittings can be an extreme shock hazard.The government of Australia, for example, issued a recall of the Touch Lamp N15955 manufactured by Test Rite International and sold at Homeart Stores. This lamp did not comply with mandatory electrical safety requirements and may cause an electric shock. If you believe you own this particular lamp, you should stop using it immediately and return it to the nearest Homeart store.

Smoke Or Burning Smells

The module in a touch lamp can overheat and cause a burning smell, even if it does not start a fire. The Toronto Electrical Safety Authority has received increasing reports from concerned consumers about the end-of-life failure of Compact Fluorescent Lamps When these lamps fail they can emit smoke, an odor, or a popping sound. In addition, the plastic base may become charred, discoloured, and/or deformed. The early warning signs include the lamp flickering or a bright orange or red glow. Compact Fluorescent lamps should not be used in touch lamps.

A touch lamp can also interfere with other electronic items, such as a radio or TV, changing the picture on a TV. A touch control lamp can sometimes turn on by itself. A good powerbar with surge protection is recommended to prevent power surges/overheating and interference.