Federal safety regulators say more than 400,000 solar-powered patio umbrellas sold exclusively at Costco are being recalled because they pose overheating and fire hazards.
The company has received at least six reports about the overheating risk, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Thursday. In five incidents, the solar panels or umbrella caught fire. And one smoke-inhalation injury was reported.
“Consumers should immediately stop using the umbrellas,” the agency said in a news release. Customers are advised to immediately remove the solar panel puck, store it away from the sun and combustible materials and avoid charging it with an AC adapter.
Customers can return the item to any Costco Warehouse for a full refund, or contact SunVilla at 866-600-3133 or go online for refund instructions. Both SunVilla and Costco are contacting known customers.
SunVilla also received one overheating report in Canada, and a recall was issued for the 33,000 umbrellas sold in that country from January 2021 through May 2022.
Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in most electronic devices, including smartphones, handheld power tools and electric vehicles. The lithium-ion battery market has grown significantly as demand for electric bikes and cars has climbed.
Last year, the White House pushed for a national network of electric vehicle charging stations, as a groundwork for reducing carbon emissions. The global market for lithium-ion batteries was valued at $36 billion in 2020 and was projected to reach $193 billion in 2028, a market report showed.
On the other hand, the batteries are sensitive to high temperatures and inherently inflammable. “Lithium-ion batteries store a large amount of energy and can pose a threat if not treated properly,” the Fire Department of New York said on social media.
In April, the department warned the public about the proper handling of lithium-ion batteries after the batteries sparked four fires on lightweight electric vehicles and injured dozens in New York City. “If using a lithium battery, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage. Always use the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made specifically for the device. If a battery overheats, discontinue use immediately,” the department wrote.