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Takata to stop using volatile chemical in airbags

Under heated questioning from a panel of U.S. lawmakers, Takata Corp. announced on June 2 that it will "transition" away from the use of ammonium nitrate in its airbags. The embattled airbag manufacturer told members of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that it would work to replace the volatile chemical with guanidine nitrate instead. The company has been forced to recall nearly 34 million vehicles across Georgia and the United States due to deadly airbag failures.

Takata believes ammonium nitrate may be a factor in a rash of airbag malfunctions that have killed at least six people and injured more than 100 others. Apparently, the formulation of ammonium nitrate used by Takata did not include a chemical addition, known as a desiccant, that absorbs moisture and extends the useful life of the airbag. As a result, Takata airbags were vulnerable to heat and moisture exposure, which led to their degradation and explosive failure.

Lawmakers on the panel expressed astonishment and dismay that Takata was still manufacturing airbags with ammonium nitrate when the company suspected the chemical was responsible for the airbag failures. A representative for Takata told the committee members that failures only occurred after many years of exposure to heat and humidity. The panel responded that there was "no excuse" for Takata to continue using the chemical in its airbags.

Any Georgia resident who has been injured due to a defective automobile part, including a faulty airbag, may wish to consult with an attorney. After a review of the circumstances and evidence, the attorney may recommend the filing of a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer, seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: Auto News, "Takata plans to 'transition' away from ammonium nitrate in airbags," Ryan Beene, June 2, 2015

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