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I was writing up a couple of posts on the CPSC when I ran across this product recall:

Active Leisure Tents Recalled Due to Fire Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Costco

OK, I buy that. If a tent is going to spontaneously combust, I’d like to know about it. But let’s examine what makes this a fire hazard:

The tents do not meet the flammability label claim on the unit, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Do you see the non-sequitur? It is one thing to be an actual fire hazard. It is another thing to have a fire risk that differs from what it states on the label. While these are not mutually exclusive, fire risk does not follow from the fact that the tent does not meet the standard it puts on the label. For example, if the label says, “this tent will never burn, even if you soak it with gasoline and launch roman candles into it,” and then when you actually do this 100 times in a row, it catches fire one time out of those hundred, would anyone in their right mind call it a fire risk? Now, there is certainly grounds for asking (forcing?) the company to modify the claims on the label. But that does not seem to be what happened here. What happened here is a total product recall, of course.

And just how much risk did that tent pose? We don’t know. But as of this writing there were NO reported conflagrations in people’s front yards.

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