TGA warning about the correct use and purchase of wheat or grain-filled heat packs
The TGA is alerting consumers to the risk of burns that can result from the use of wheat or grain-filled heat packs (heat packs), after receiving reports of personal injury caused by overheating.
Incidents involving heat packs that have been reported to the TGA include reports of burns resulting from heat packs:
- being heated and placed on or in bedding
- being heated in microwaves for longer than the time specified by the manufacturer
- being reheated before being allowed to cool properly
- ageing, causing fillings to dry out and become combustible
If a heat pack's manufacturer makes therapeutic claims about their device (for example, 'relieves muscle aches and pains'), it must be listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). Such heat packs are classified as low-risk (Class 1) medical devices.
To avoid burns or other personal injury, the TGA advises consumers using heat packs to:
- only buy heat packs that have clear directions for use and carefully follow those instructions, especially when heating the pack
- avoid buying packs with flammable casing or covers (wool and cotton-covered packs are recommended as they are non-combustible)
- don't use heat packs in situations where the heat is confined (e.g. as a bed warmer, inside or on bedding).
Contact the TGA to report a problem with heat packs that are listed on the ARTG.
The TGA is working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to promote the safe use of heat packs. Further information is available at the ACCC's Product Safety Australia website.