Extension Cords: Only useful when they don’t burst into flames

June 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

How are counterfeiters like failed crossing guards? Neither group cares too much for safety.

There’s no question counterfeiters could care less about safety. They certainly don’t care about the safety of their workers, who in many cases are children sold into labor and forced to work tortuous hours in squalid, dodgy conditions. The counterfeiters clearly don’t care about their own safety as they try to flaunt the most talented law enforcement agencies in the world in their attempts to exploit  the world’s finest brands. But most interestingly, and this is for anyone who knows a thing or two about good business practice, they don’t care about the consumer’s safety. Literally.

We’ve seen the news items about counterfeit toothpaste containing some of the same chemicals found in anti-freeze or, in other cases, dangerous strains of bacteria. In 2006, a Canadian woman died from fake pharmaceuticals purchased online that contained lethal amounts of metals and other dangerous ‘filler’ components. And in the fall of 2008, we brought you the story about Dublin city officials shutting down a factory that was illegally producing counterfeit vodka containing levels of methanol so high that it would lead to blindness.

And if that track record isn’t filthy enough for you, now we can add another concern to the fakes list – combustible extension cords.

NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, has recently requested that Congress appropriate the funds to implement the programs that were outlined in PRO-IP, or The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, that was approved under the Bush administration. One of the motivating factors, according to NEMA Board Chairman Stuart Thorn was the fact that “the domestic extension cord industry has disappeared because of unfair competition from substandard, counterfeit electrical cords that falsely contain certification marks.”

These fake models lack the correct gauge of wiring as well as an internal fuse that would normally provide over-current protection, without which the fake cords can overheat and in certain cases catch fire.

NEMA maintains a fantastic anti-counterfeiting website that monitors developments in the fight against the fake trade and is a wonderful educational resource that will keep you updated on the discovery of dangerous sham products.

Though this epidemic may span a multitude of industry groups, its effects are frighteningly similar: at some level, whether in production or consumption, counterfeiting means lives are lost.

Educate yourself and help us put an end to this senseless waste.
It would seem that while fakes are never in fashion, they’re often in flames.

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