LED T8 Tubes Tops North America Recall Lists in 2015

Several large lighting brands have made large scale recalls over the past three months in the North America market, such as Cree, Osram Sylvania and IKEA. Even large lighting brands are not exempt from occasional faulty products. LEDinside takes a closer look into these recalls trends.

Cree LED T8 tube lights recalled in June 2015. (All photos courtesy of U.S. CSPC)

LED T8 tube lights recalled in the U.S. and Canada this year reached an astounding 761,500, and comprise the largest volume of withdrawn products. In comparison, LED emergency lights and wall mounted lights consisted the largest volume of recalls in 2014. Cree’s massive recall of LED tube lights manufactured in China on Aug. 25, 2015 contributed to nearly 93.43% of the tube light recalls this year. This was followed by Osram Sylvania’s recall of some 50,000 LED tube lights that were manufactured by a Korean OEM in early September.

The large volume of recalls can be partially explained by applications for these lighting products, where tube lights are used in large volumes. “LED T8 tube lights are most commonly found in factory and retail lighting installations,” said Joanne Wu, Associate Manager, Research Department, LEDinside.

(Source: U.S. CPSC, organized by LEDinside)

Electric shock and burn hazards remains the top cited reasons for LED product recalls in the North American market. Both Cree and Osram recalled LED tube lights over burn hazard concerns. “Most of these recalls probably occurred because the products did not meet The DesignLights Consortium (DLC) stringent product lifetime, electrical safety, and thermal resistance tests,” she added.

There has been a reported 1,400 residential fires caused by lighting equipment in 2012 that have claimed about 10 lives during 2012, according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics released in 2015. A positive development is the number of fires caused by lighting equipment dropped from 1,900 to 1,400 from 2010 to 2012 in the U.S. Deaths caused by these fires also sharply declined from 30, 20, and to 10 respectively.

(Source: U.S. CPSC)

Products manufactured in China still have the highest recall rates, which is not surprising since the country is the world’s largest LED manufacturing base. Another explanation to the high number of reported cases from China is caused by price wars. Philips ignited the low price wars in May 2015 with its two for $4.99 LED bulbs in the U.S. market, which GE followed with a three packed LED bulb priced at less than $9.99 in June. Manufacturers are under increasing pressure to outsource products to Asia to cut costs. Outsourcing to Asia where worker wages are lower can effectively reduce manufacturers’ product retail prices, but product quality risks are also involved.

“LED prices is just one of the many factors,” said Wu. “It is the LED OEMs responsibility to solve the basic issues of product quality management, and consumers need to raise awareness about product quality issues.”

Ending on a positive note fewer LED products were withdrawn from the North American market this year compared to 2014, suggesting manufacturers and consumers are becoming more aware of product quality issues.

(Author: Judy Lin, Chief Editor, LEDinside)

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