Customs Warns of 'Electrocution Hazards' of Counterfeit Hair Dryers from China

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | August 19, 2014 | 11:33 AM EDT

Port of Houston officers have seized nearly 5,000 hair dryers posing the threat of "electrical shock or electrocution hazards" and customers should be on the lookout, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports.

The counterfeit hair dryers were determined to pose a risk of a "substantial product hazard" under U.S. law because they lack adequate Ground-Fault Circuit interrupters.

Deadly Counterfeit Hair Dryer Seized by CBP

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns that consumers should look for a large, rectangular-shaped plug at the end of the hair dryer cord indicating the presence of a GFCI. The certification mark of a recognized testing laboratory should also be visible on the hair dryer or on the hair dryer's packaging.

The seized hair dryers, which originated from China, have a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of almost $330,000.

"This seizure is the latest example of the vigilance and attention to detail our officers pay to protect consumers from imported goods that pose a dangerous risk," said CBP Houston Area Port Director Dave Fluty.

During an examination of the shipment, officers found the dryers missing the immersion protection plug and bearing a suspect trademark logo.  Officers coordinated with CPSC to confirm the products were counterfeit, and a CPSC evaluation of product samples concluded the required immersion protection plug was missing resulting in the seizure of the entire shipment that contained more than 400 boxes of the faulty articles.

The Port of Houston is a 25-mile-long complex which consistently ranks first in the U.S. in foreign waterborne tonnage, imports, and export tonnage and second in the U.S. in total tonnage.