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May 2012    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 38, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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189 Failures Lead to Recall of 17,000 Miflex Hoses

from the May, 2012 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Last November, we wrote an article questioning the safety of Miflex's double-braided, polyester high-pressure hoses that claimed to be more flexible, durable and stronger than other high-pressure hoses even though they weighed less. When you get multiple complaints from divers about the hoses breaking, both at the crimps and in the middle, and at least one dive shop stating publicly that it won't carry them because of all the field reports about leaking issues, you have to wonder what the company is doing to address the problem. We contacted XS Scuba, Miflex's U.S. distributor, for a reply to that story, but Mark Gibello in its sales and marketing department didn't get back to us with one.

Now comes a notice last month from XS Scuba that it is recalling 17,000 Miflex hoses due to a drowning hazard. "The diving hose can rupture, reducing the available air supply to the diver," says the press release issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. It also stated that while there has been no report of injuries, XS Scuba received reports of 189 hose failures. That's an astronomical number. And why wait so long to do a recall, when these 189 hose failures were starting to be reported as far back as last summer?

We asked Gibello again for a reply. He wrote us, "You can get all of the details regarding the recall on our website." So based on XS Scuba's website, the recalled hoses were sold between May 2009 and the present, and consumers should immediately stop using them and call XS Scuba at (888) 249-5404 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific to receive instructions for obtaining a free replacement hose. Gibello did tell us that recalled hoses are being replaced with a new factory-authorized hose, but offered no more specifics.

Miflex, located in Villasanta, Italy, sent out a press release in April that the recall is voluntary by XS Scuba, and limited only to the U.S. and Canada, claiming that we North Americans apparently don't know how to use them properly. Miflex states, "This action is due to specific requirements in the U.S. and Canada. We have experienced a very low number of failures that occurred when the hose was roughly handled or subjected to excessive bending. No manufacturing nor material defects were found, and possibly the reasons of the ruptures were the ones above mentioned. Miflex has on its website instructions about proper use of the hose, and we suggest to all our customers to strictly follow its guidelines.

"As we have, and continue to receive, extremely positive feedback from many customers, we confirm that we will continue producing and selling the high-pressure hoses in their current configuration with hose protectors. They are EN250certified, and are fit for use in scuba diving. They will no longer be available in the US and Canada following a specific request from our distributor, who will market a new version called Carbon HD, with a bigger diameter and higher burst pressure. The new heavy-duty HP hose will be available in the next few weeks. It has been designed for divers that want maximum resistance from a hose, although this will reduce the flexibility."

So, you American and Canadian Miflex hose users, it's your fault. Presumably, the Europeans and Aussies are all gentle souls when it comes to handling their gear. But we don't buy it.

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