Since reports of deaths and injuries linked to a defect in Takata airbags, nearly 70 million Takata airbags have been recalled in the U.S. That means that almost one out of every five cars has a potentially defective airbag. More and more automobiles equipped with Takata airbags have been the subject of recalls on an ongoing basis.
Takata’s use of a volatile chemical, ammonium nitrate, has been cited as one of the major reasons the Takata airbags are dangerous. Because ammonium nitrate is a volatile substance, it can become unstable when exposed to sudden changes in temperature or humidity. Typically, there is a metal housing surrounding the airbag. When the ammonium nitrate explodes with enough force, the metal housing cannot contain it, resulting in the airbag exploding and metal shrapnel being propelled through the air.
To date, the Takata airbags in approximately 9 million automobiles have been repaired. However, it was reported recently that Takata is using several of the same parts and materials which were used in the faulty airbags. This has caused significant concerns among many experts. Takata claims that it has added a substance to the ammonium nitrate that is intended to keep the ammonium nitrate dry, even in conditions of high temperatures and humidity. However, some industry experts believe that Takata’s solution does not adequately address the problem of ammonium nitrate becoming unstable during temperature changes. Because Takata is responsible for the repairs, and due to the recent discovery that Takata continues to use some of the same methods and components that were used in the manufacture of the defective airbags, consumers should be concerned.