The government issued another warning this week about the dangers of the slant-sided refuse bins once commonly found outside apartment and office buildings.
One such bin has been blamed for the Oct. 22 death of a 9-year-old boy in Crestwood, Ky. He was the 18th child to die since 1975 from injuries received while playing in or near the bins.
"The basic problem is that the bins are unstable, and they tip over," said Nancy Harvey Steorts, the chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the agency that banned unsafe bins in June 1977.
Despite a nationwide enforcement campaign that resulted in the correction of many bins so that they are more stable, some unsafe ones still are in service, Steorts said. "If any consumer should find one in any part of the country, we would ask them to get in touch with us immediately."
In addition, the agency plans to increase bin inspections to determine if they comply with federal law prohibiting metal refuse bins that tip when tested by the application of a horizontal force of 70 pounds or a downward force of 191 pounds. The law also prohibits metal refuse bins with an internal capacity of one cubic yard or greater.