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Decorative alcohol fuelled burners 

Extension of interim ban 

The interim ban on the sale of portable decorative alcohol fuelled burners has been extended for 30 days, commencing 20 February 2017. The initial interim ban commenced on 21 December 2016 and was in effect for 60 days.

As a result of the interim ban, these burners cannot be offered for sale. 

Under the Australian Consumer Law, an interim ban can be imposed if a reasonably foreseeable use (or misuse) of a consumer good will or may cause injury to any person.

You can download and read the Imposition of interim ban on Decorative alcohol fuelled burners (PDF size: 46.5KB) here.

You can download and read the Extension of the interim ban on decorative alcohol fuelled burners (PDF size: 261KB) here.

     

The burners are primarily decorative but are also sold for heating and display purposes. The fuel is typically ethanol in liquid or (less commonly) gel form. The most common form is methylated spirits (ethanol and around 10 per cent methanol) which may also be marketed as bio-ethanol or eco-fuel. 

Since 2010, there have been 113 reported injuries and 115 fire incidents. In October 2016, a 28 year old Perth woman suffered serious burns to her face and upper body after an ethanol burner exploded in the backyard of a Safety Bay home. This was closely followed by two people being injured on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in an ethanol burner accident.

These burners are especially dangerous when they are being re-fuelled. When the fuel is low, the flame can appear blue or clear, making it difficult to see. Re-fuelling when a flame is present or the device is still warm can lead to an explosion.  There is also a risk of the burner being knocked over by children or pets and causing serious burns to people nearby as well as damage to property.

Information for traders
Information for consumers
Frequently asked questions

Information for traders 

As a result of this ban, these burners cannot be offered for sale from 21 December 2016.

Retailers and online traders based in Australia must cease sales immediately and remove the banned products from shelves or delete them from online catalogues. Non-compliance with a ban can attract a monetary penalty of up to $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for corporations.

The interim ban only affects portable (or table-top) devices designed for domestic use producing a flame using alcohol as fuel. It does not include products that:

  • have a power output of more than 4.5kWs
  • require installation in a fixed position, such as a fireplace
  • are designed for warming food.

The Commonwealth Minister for Small Business is considering imposing a national interim ban on these products. If a national interim ban is imposed, the current NSW interim ban will cease to have effect.

You can read more and subscribe to receive email updates on the Product Safety Australia website.

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Information for consumers 

If you have an alcohol fuelled burner in your home you should stop using it immediately. In most cases, if these products are determined to be unsafe and are permanently banned, they will be able to be returned to the retailer for a full refund.

Watch the Don’t fuel the fire – ethanol burner safety awareness film here.

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Frequently asked questions 

What is an interim ban?  

Bans can be placed on products and product-related services if there is a risk that they may cause serious injury, illness or death.

What products are covered by the interim ban?  

At this stage, all decorative alcohol portable fuelled burners are banned, unless they:

  • have a power output of more than 4.5kWs
  • require installation in a fixed position, such as a fireplace
  • are designed for warming food.

Why are these products banned?  

Using your alcohol fuelled burner could lead to serious injury. Since 2010 there have been at least 113 separate injuries attributed to these products and 115 burner related fires. This is the reason for the ban.

I've been using my alcohol burner for years, with no problems. Can I continue to use it?  

No, you should stop using your alcohol fuelled burner, even if you have been using it for a number of years.

What should I do with my alcohol fuelled burner?  

You should store your alcohol fuelled burner in a safe place and await further information. If you have your proof of purchase you can contact the store where you purchased the product and request a full refund.

Can I get a refund? 

 The Australian Consumer Law provides for consumer guarantees meaning that the goods consumers purchase are of acceptable quality, which includes that they are safe, so you can also ask the retailer who sold you the product for a refund. More information is available on the Consumer guarantees page on the Fair Trading website.

I bought an alcohol fuelled burner as a Christmas gift. What should I do now?  

If you have wrapped it, unwrap it. Do not give it as a gift.

You should take it back to the seller with the proof of purchase to get your money back or an exchange in line with the store’s returns policy.

Is it ok to buy a second hand alcohol fuelled burner from a private seller? 

No. These products have been banned due to their potential to cause serious injury or even death. You should not put yourself or others at risk by purchasing an ethanol burner.

Report alcohol fuelled burners for sale by calling us on 13 32 20 or by lodging a complaint on the Fair Trading website.

I have seen these products for sale at my local store, how do I report it?  

Report alcohol fuelled burners for sale by calling us on 13 32 20 or by lodging a complaint on the Fair Trading website.

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