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The impact of immersion protection requirements on hair dryer electrocutions in the USA
  1. Gregory B Rodgers1,
  2. Sarah Garland2
  1. 1Directorate for Economic Analysis, US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  2. 2Directorate for Epidemiology, US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gregory B Rodgers, Directorate for Economic Analysis, US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, USA; grodgers{at}cpsc.gov

Abstract

Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of the immersion protection requirements of a voluntary safety standard for portable handheld hair dryers in preventing electrocution deaths in the USA.

Methods The present work was an interrupted time series study design. Data on annual hair dryer-related electrocution deaths resulting from water contact were developed for the 1980–2007 study period. A multivariate Poisson regression model for rate data was used to evaluate the impact of the immersion protection requirements during the post-intervention period. The analysis controlled for the estimated number of hair dryers in use and the estimated number of US homes equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters, safety devices that would address hair dryer electrocutions even in the absence of the immersion protection requirements of the voluntary standard. The implementation of the 1987 and 1991 immersion protection requirements of the voluntary standard for portable handheld hair dryers was the intervention studied. The main outcome measure was the estimated reduction in the hair dryer electrocution rate associated with the immersion protection requirements of the voluntary standard.

Results After controlling for covariates, the immersion protection requirements were estimated to reduce the rate of hair dryer immersion electrocution deaths by 96.6% (95% CI, 90.8% to 98.8%). This suggests the prevention of about 280 immersion electrocution deaths involving hair dryers during the post-intervention period (1987–2007).

Conclusions The immersion protection requirements of the voluntary safety standard for hair dryers have been highly effective in reducing hair dryer electrocutions.

  • Electrocution
  • hair dryers
  • poisson regression
  • helmet
  • bicycle
  • policy
  • legislation
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Footnotes

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed in this article are those of the authors. It has not been reviewed or approved by and may not necessarily reflect the views of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Because this article was written in the authors' official capacities, it is in the public domain and may be copied freely.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data used in the analysis is available by contacting SG (sgarland{at}cpsc.gov). No individuals are identifiable from the database; all information is anonymous.

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