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Recalled 'Fat-Burning' Pads Scorch Users

W A S H I N G T O N, July 2

Consumers should not use heating pad-style devices sold as a way to help the overweight sweat off pounds because they can catch fire and have seriously burned some people, the Food and Drug Administration warned today.

Personal Electro-Saunas, also called the Moulding Body Electrical Body Belts, were recalled by a Miami company that goes by the names Body Fitness Inc. and the TV Store Corp., the FDA said.

Consumers should stop using the “weight-loss pads” at once, the FDA said.

The product resembles a heating pad that can be wrapped around the waist, thighs or arms.

The devices were sold nationwide—without FDA approval—via television, mostly on Hispanic channels, the agency said. The product also was sold in Puerto Rico and Canada.

The company agreed to write all customers beginning last week to inform them of the recall, the FDA said, but the agency issued its own warning today to stress the hazards.

Suspicious Fires

The FDA learned of the “weight-loss pads” when a fire department and an insurance company reported suspicious apartment fires.

FDA inspectors discovered the devices were being sold without government approval and that the company had failed to report serious customer injuries in violation of federal law, says an FDA warning letter sent to Body Fitness last week.

One customer suffered second-degree burns over the entire midsection of the body and another suffered burns to the stomach and back when their weight-loss pads caught fire, the FDA warning letter said.

The agency couldn’t provide precise numbers today, but the warning letter said officials knew of “numerous other reports” of fires and injuries.