DETROIT (AP) — A type of Takata air bag inflator once thought to be safe has now come under scrutiny after a crash and explosion in Maryland injured the driver of an older Honda minivan.
The incident forced Honda on Tuesday to from the 2001 to 2016 model years that were not included in the massive string of Takata recalls for air bags that can hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment.
Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion and inflate air bags in a collision. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to high temperatures and humidity and blow apart a metal canister, spewing out shrapnel. At least 23 people have been killed by the company’s inflators and hundreds more injured.
The inflators in the Tuesday recall contain a moisture-absorbing chemical called a dessicant that was added to keep the ammonium nitrate stable. They were believed to be safe and were never part of the broader recall. They had even been used to replace older inflators under recalls that began in 2014.