Letter to the Editor

January 1, 2008 By    

In the September 2007 issue of LP Gas, columnist Jay Johnston questioned the safety of wrapping cylinders with plastic sleeves. Sadly, Mr. Johnston recited a propane grill accident that had no apparent connection to the use of a plastic sleeve.

In the two decades of cylinder exchange, a period in which tens of millions of LP-gas cylinders have been exchanged, we have never encountered a safety incident related to plastic sleeves being placed on cylinders. Moreover, plastic sleeves provide instructions, helpful information and warnings for the user. In addition, plastic sleeves on cylinders do not cause cylinders to flash rust. Plastic sleeves are supplied on new cylinders from the factory to some exchange companies with no flash rust issues noted.

At the time of cylinder refilling, cylinder exchange companies remove each sleeve to enable proper inspection as required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). After removing the sleeve, each cylinder undergoes a thorough and rigorous inspection process that complies with DOT and CGA C-6 requirements. The cylinders are then precision-filled. Finally, the instructions and warning information is reapplied by installing a new plastic sleeve.

The standard warning labels on all new propane cylinders provide safety points as well as connection and leak-check instructions. These labels also include the statement, “Do not remove, deface, or obliterate this label,” which is ANSI standard language intended for the consumer so the safety information remains in place.

The plastic sleeve installed by exchange companies contains the required label information, but beyond that the plastic sleeve provides more information. The added information improves consumer education regarding the safe use of propane and helps to further reduce the potential for safety issues. In fact, the plastic sleeve provides the most comprehensive and complete safety information available in the industry by including warnings about carbon monoxide poisoning, tips for the safe transportation and safe storage of cylinders and more. Some plastic sleeves go further by providing this information in English and Spanish. Other plastic sleeves even offer consumer and retail assistance via a toll-free customer service line, which is displayed on the plastic sleeve.

In his article, Mr. Johnston quotes an individual who is concerned that there is “a lack of control over propane cylinder exchange quality and safety.” We disagree. As the leaders in cylinder exchange, we, the cylinder exchangers and cylinder manufacturers, utilize technology and proven processes to inspect, leak-test, refurbish and precision-fill the cylinders that pass through our doors.

We salute any and all efforts to enhance the safety and enjoyment of LP-gas grilling. And we continue to be committed to providing a quality product to our customers.

The management and staff of AmeriGas Propane, Blue Rhino, Paraco Gas, Worthington Cylinder Corp.

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