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Stand ‘n Seal Does More Than Just Sealing Grouts

Stand ‘n Seal was a revolutionary way of sealing grouts between tiles and other niches around the house that need waterproof sealing. It promotes a quicker and simpler alternative to the backbreaking grout sealers that require the consumers to devote their time to a labor-intensive house maintenance work. It was widely distributed in the year 2005 by Tile Perfect, a division of Roanoke Companies Group Inc. , and was only sold at Home Depot (CPSC, 2005). It was a product that seemed to be perfectly convenient for consumers who would prefer to do the necessary household repairs on their own.

Its reputation flourished, as it delivered the expected results of correcting the grouts. However, it was recalled from store shelves after severe health cases pointed against the product arose. It seems that the product severely caused respiratory difficulties to the consumers and to those who were able to breathe its fumes. The product was recalled, although it stayed in retail store shelves for around 18 months more before it was completely pulled out. It could have been convenient for consumers to use such a simple household product.

However, it contained hazardous chemicals that damaged the lungs of its consumers and their beneficiaries, which could also result in death. Stand ‘n Seal was originally manufactured in 2003 with its active ingredient being supplied by Dupont (Gibb, 2007). However, in 2005, the company decided to switch it to a chemical agent known as Flexipel S-22WS produced by Innovative Chemical Technologies from Georgia. This shift may be the result of cutting production time and costs while delivering the same expected result.

As a result, the newly introduced version of the product started to receive complaints from the consumers as well as government organizations within two weeks after its release. The distributor of Stand ‘n Seal, Roanoke Companies, may have known the hazards that the new ingredient could pose. However, it can also be possible that they have been too shocked about the product’s results; the former seemed more believable. The Roanoke Companies neglected to test the product properly before releasing it to the market, resulting in a catastrophic health hazard across American homes:

According to court documents that have been filed in tandem with various lawsuits, and the House panel in September, Roanoke waited weeks until it finally contacted the CPSC [United States Consumer Product Safety Commission], and only did so after a physician with the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug centre in Denver threatened to contact the CPSC himself. (Gibb, 2007, n. p. ) The company also ignored the warning given by the producers of the chemical agent: “Innovated Chemical Technologies stipulated that the Flexipel S-22WS chemical should never be used in an aerosol form, as it could cause respiratory injury” (Gibb, 2007, n.

p. ). Thus, they may have known about the risks that come with the usage of their product, but they neglected to release this issue to the public; their primary goal was to make money. Roanoke Companies could have averted the results which followed the release of their product, if only they heeded the warning given by Innovated Chemical Technologies. With these evidences, it was impossible for the company to have failed to notice the hazards posed by their product before releasing it to the market.

The reason for the product’s immediate recall by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shortly after its release was the respiratory illnesses and restrictions that the consumers and users of the product experienced from inhaling the fumes of Stand ‘n Seal. One such case was Dr. Walter E. Friedel. He was a 63-year old physician who wanted to waterproof the tiles of his hot tub room quickly so he could watch the football game scheduled on the same day. However, what he got was a four-day stay at the hospital’s intensive care unit, with his lungs severely inflamed and desperate for air (Lipton, 2007).

The physician was the latest known victim two years after the product had been deemed a health hazard to the public and was made-known to the company and the CPSC. Before Dr. Friedel, 80 more such cases were reported after the product’s release in 2005, which also resulted in two fatalities. Even though the threat was quite evident to the public, the retail stores have failed to pull out the products before another consumer became a victim of the hazardous sealer. The Stand ‘n Seal case was one of the few cases that challenged the authority and the mission of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The commission failed to remove the product immediately from store shelves, which ended a streak of being able to pull out products from the public which were deemed unsafe, as in the case of Chinese-made products. The company failed to take the initiative of pulling out the products while many consumers suffered and two have died as a result of inhaling the hazardous fumes of Stand ‘n Seal.

References

Gibb, G. (2007, October 9). The Stand ‘n Seal case: Unsafe product + ineffective response = Sickness and death.Lawyers and Settlements. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from http://www. lawyersandsettlements. com/articles/01449/stand-n-seal-deaths. html. Lipton, E. (2007, October 8). The testing lab; Dangerous sealer stayed on shelves after Recall. The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from http://query. nytimes. com/gst/fullpage. html? res=9A03E7D7113FF93BA35753C1A9619C8B63. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2005, August 31). CPSC, Tile Perfect Inc. Announce Recall of Stand ‘n Seal Grout Sealer Due to Respiratory Problems.

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