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Agreement Provides for Refunds on Water Coolers

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Washington--Schools that own water coolers with lead-lined tanks made by Halsey Taylor may be eligible for a refund or a replacement unit, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced last week.

Under the agreement reached between the commission and Halsey Taylor, schools and other owners of tank-type water coolers produced before April 1, 1979, will be eligible for a refund or a replacement if tests show that the units produce more than 20 parts per billion of lead in the coolers' water.

The Lead Contamination Control Act, adopted by the Congress in 1988, required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to compile a list of water coolers that had lead-lined tanks. The commission was then required to order the manufacturers to recall, repair, or replace the units. (See Education4Week, April 19, 1989.)

Ken Giles, a spokesman for the commission, said that Halsey Taylor, the only manufacturer of lead-lined tanks, does not know how many of the approximately 1 million water coolers it made before April 1, 1979, have lead-lined tanks or how many of the coolers are in schools.

To qualify for the program, cooler owners must provide Halsey Taylor with a copy of water-testing results from a qualified laboratory. Eligible owners will have the option of receiving a new lead-free cooler that is similar in design and function to the old unit, or a refund based on the cooler model and age.

Within the next three weeks, the company will mail a notice about the program to all public-school superintendents and all private and parochial schools.

The following units are included in the program:

Coolers without a letter in the serial number.

Coolers with a letter in the serial number if the serial number is in the 015,000,000 series and the last digit of the serial number is an 8 preceded by a letter A through M, or the last digit of the serial number is a 9 preceded by the letter A, B, or C.

Water coolers that meet the above criteria are excluded from the program if they bear these model designations: BFC (all models), S3D, S5D, S10D, SCWT (all models except SCWT-14W), WC-7, WM series, and SW series (if there is a "-" in the model designation followed by a single number, such as the WM8A-1, or WM-8A-1).

Water-cooler owners can get in touch with the company by calling (800) 635-2358 or by writing to: Halsey Taylor Water Cooler Program, 775 Corporate Woods Parkway, Vernon Hills, Ill. 60061.--ef

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