Consumer Information - Decorative Refillable Outdoor Torches

March 2009

The Issue

Decorative refillable outdoor torches are composed of three parts: a shaft, a fuel reservoir and a wick. The shaft is usually made of wood (such as bamboo) or metal and this is stuck in the ground or mounted on the side of a deck. The reservoir usually sits on top of the shaft and contains liquid fuel (such as kerosene). The reservoir can be made of various materials such as metal or glass. The wick sits partly inside the reservoir and partly outside where it can be lit. The torch is generally used to provide light and has a decorative function.

Decorative refillable outdoor torches

These products pose flammability and toxicity hazards to both children and adults.

  • Toxicity Hazard: Ingestion of the liquid fuel used in the reservoir can lead to severe health effects for children, including death. These fuels are easily accessed by children when the unlit torches are left in the backyard.
  • Flammability Hazard: Adults are advised that even when these torches are used according to instructions, they become an open flame source. Never leave a burning torch or candle unattended.

Health Canada's Response

Decorative refillable garden torches are subject to the safety standards of the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001CCCR, 2001) under the authority of the Hazardous Products Act. The hazards posed by these products result in the need for special labelling on the reservoir of the torch. Some fuels also require the reservoir to be child-resistant. If the fuel bottle used to fill the reservoir is child-resistant, then the torch reservoir must be as well.

How to tell if your products meet Health Canada's safety standards

Many of these torch products previously sold in Canada did not meet Health Canada's safety standards under the CCCR, 2001. The CCCR, 2001 requires that all hazardous chemical products be labelled and packaged according to the dangers they pose to users. The CCCR, 2001 also requires that this information be put on any empty container which is sold with the intention of being filled with a hazardous chemical product.

To determine if a torch is compliant with the CCCR, 2001, both these requirements must be met:

  1. See if the bottle of fuel used to fill the reservoir has a child-resistant closure on it, if so then the torch reservoir should have a child-resistant closure as well.
  2. Check to see if the torch reservoir has a label. It should be similar to the label on the bottle of fuel used to fill the torch reservoir.
Label: If you see this symbol here (bottle) then it should also appear here (torch)

By comparing the labels and packaging on the bottle of fuel and torch reservoir you can easily determine if your torches are compliant with the CCCR, 2001.

What you can do

  • Parents and caregivers should teach their children that these products are not toys and are not food or something to drink. If a child does access the liquid fuel, parents should contact the nearest poison control centre or doctor immediately. The contact number is generally on the first page of your telephone book under Emergency Numbers.
  • Any product containing liquid fuels should be kept out of reach of young children and locked out of sight when not in use.
  • Consumers should read the labels on the fuel reservoirs and fuel bottles to be aware of the hazards posed by the liquid fuel.
  • Replacing these torch products with garden torch candles is not recommended. These candles also pose a fire hazard.
  • Do not bring non-compliant garden torches into Canada from other countries.

For more information:

For further information, including information about product compliance, contact your nearest Health Canada Product Safety office by phone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free) or e-mail at cps_spc@hc-sc.gc.ca (please indicate the province or territory from which you are corresponding).

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