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The manufacturer of a number of popular brands of fitness balls is recalling about 3 million of its products and instructing consumers on safe inflation, after the company received numerous reports of the exercise balls bursting and causing injuries.
Today's recall applies to rubber fitness balls sold under the "Bally Total Fitness", "Everlast", "Valeo" and "Body Fit Fitness Balls" brands, and manufactured by New York-based EB Brands. The specific exercise balls being recalled came in 55, 65, and 75-cm diameter sizes and were sold nationwide from May 2000 to February 2009 (for between $15 and $30) according to an announcement from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
EB brands has received 47 reports of the exercise balls "unexpectedly bursting, including reports of a fracture, and multiple bruises," CPSC reports, and the company is advising consumers to "contact EB Brands to receive a copy of the updated instructions on how to safely inflate the ball."
ABC News points out that today's recall announcement comes as creative use of the fitness balls is peaking: "Restless cubicle dwellers have ditched their traditional chairs. Pregnant women rely on them during delivery. A class of fourth grade students in California bounce on the balls during class at their desks to keep their bodies active as well as their brains."
Recalls and Injuries. When a consumer product is deemed defective and causes an injury, companies can be held liable under a legal theory called "product liability." Lawsuits that proceed on this legal theory usually favor an injured plaintiff, because standards of proof are lower. A person injured by a defective product typically only needs to show that the product was defective (pretty easy to do when a recall is involved) and that an injury resulted -- there is no need to prove that a manufacturer was negligent or careless.
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