Japanese home furnishing chain issues massive recall for asbestos-heavy bathmats and coasters

soranews24.com -- Dec 24

Japanese affordable home furnishing chain Nitori’s slogan is “Onedan ijo,” which loosely translates to “quality beyond its price.” Unfortunately, it turns out that some of Nitori’s products have also gone above and beyond expectations for how much asbestos they contain.

The chain is issuing a recall for several products, all manufactured in China, containing diatomaceous earth, which can be used to make solid but porous materials. That absorbent aspect makes it a useful component in some of Nitori’s bathmats and coasters, but it turns out that when the items being recalled are torn, crushed, or otherwise pulverized, they release asbestos.

In total, nine items are being recalled, with seven from the Sarasara Coaster line (product codes 7833412, 7833316, 7833315, 7833245, 7833079, and 7832888) and two from the Kaiteki Sarasara Bathmat series (7741021 and 7740976).

All of the items have been on sale since at least January of this year, and one of the bathmats has been offered since December of 2016, resulting in some 2.4 million units being affected by the recall. While Nitori is still sorting the exact method by which the recall will be carried out, the company is asking customers who have purchased the items to stop using them immediately, because even if no one wants wet feet or a water ring on their coffee table, those are still problems we’d rather have than asbestos inhalation.