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Ecodyne recalls 14,000 Sears water filter cartridges

March 5, 1997

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Ecodyne Water Systems is recalling about 14,000 Sears drinking water filter cartridges because they may contain nickel chloride, which can cause illness when ingested.

Although no customers have reported becoming ill, drinking water containing nickel chloride can cause abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, the St. Paul distribution company said.

Ecodyne said the problem cartridges _ Sears Model Nr. 42 34375 _ when first used cause the filtered water to taste metallic and turn green. Consumers who have seen such changes in their water were advised to consult a doctor about possible ingestion of nickel.

Pregnant women, dialysis patients, infants, small children, the elderly and people with kidney problems or a nickel allergy could be more sensitive to the effects of nickel chloride, the company said.

The 9 3/4-inch by 3-inch cylinder-shaped cartridges have a white plastic casing and a 1 1/2-inch wide green end cap. They were sold by Sears beginning in March 1996 for about $17. There are both under-sink and counter-top models.

Although only a small number of the filters are believed to contain the carbon with nickel chloride, Ecodyne, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, decided to recall all the filters, spokesman Tom Jollie said.

Consumers who have the filters were advised to stop using them immediately and call Ecodyne at 800-945-0109 for instructions on returning the cartridge for a full refund or replacement.

Once the filter is removed, the system should be flushed for one minute, then can be used without the filter until a replacement is obtained, Jollie said. The new filters will not be available at Sears until the end of March.

The filters were manufactured by Ametek in Paoli, Pa. The carbon component was supplied by Barnebey & Sutcliffe of Columbus, Ohio.

Bill Vogelhuber, president of Barnebey & Sutcliffe, said the company also produces carbon for respirators, a product that uses nickel chloride to absorb ammonia in air purification.

``We inadvertently planted product with nickel chloride into the product intended for the water filter. It was a small amount, and it was done in January 1996,″ he said.

The company didn’t learn of the problem until Feb. 21, when notified by Ecodyne, he said. Vogelhuber estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 of the 14,000 filters were affected.

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