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New airbag fault triggers Honda recall of 1.2 mil. cars

The Associated Press DETROIT (AP) — A type of Takata airbag inflator once thought to be safe has now come under scrutiny after a crash and explosion in Maryland injured the driver of a Honda minivan.

The incident forced Honda on Tuesday to recall about 1.2 million vehicles in North and Central America from the 2001 to 2016 model years to replace inflators that had not been included in the massive string of Takata recalls for airbags that can hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

Takata used ammonium nitrate to create the small explosion needed to inflate airbags in a collision. But the chemical can deteriorate when exposed to high temperatures and humidity and blow apart a metal canister, spewing out shrapnel. At least 23 people have been killed by the company’s inflators and hundreds more injured.

The inflators in the Tuesday recall contain a moisture-absorbing chemical called a desiccant that was added to keep the ammonium nitrate stable. They were believed to be safe, and were used to replace older inflators under recalls that began in 2014.

A crash on Jan. 19, 2018, involving a 2004 Honda Odyssey initiated an investigation and Tuesday’s recall when accident investigators discovered that the driver’s airbag inflator ruptured. Speech

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