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Victorian family Adele and Alex Rae issue urgent warning after their Samsung fridge was found to be toxic

Victorian family Adele and Alex Rae issue urgent warning after their Samsung fridge was found to be toxic
Victorian family Adele and Alex Rae issue urgent warning after their Samsung fridge was found to be toxic

By Brett Lackey for Daily Mail Australia

04:37 09 Jul 2024, updated 08:42 09 Jul 2024

A young Australian family claims they have become seriously ill from their refrigerator after it leaked chemical fumes.

Adele and Alex Rae from Victoria’s Gippsland region said they smelled a strange, chemical odor coming from their 2019 Samsung refrigerator on May 20.

“Alarm bells immediately went off because there was something wrong with the smell,” Rae told Nine News.

The couple, who also have two young children, decided to remove the contents from the fridge and take it outside after experiencing a ‘tingling and numb’ sensation in their mouths.

Mrs. Rae took the groceries outside and said she felt dizzy after working near the machine for a while.

Mrs Rae’s heart rate shot up to 160 beats per minute as she sat down. As she got into the shower to rinse off the fumes, she collapsed and Mr Rae called 000.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before… I started breathing rapidly and my muscles became weak,” she said.

Emergency services placed a hazardous materials warning at the Paradise Beach home while responders treated Ms Rae.

Young parents Adele and Alex Rae took their fridge outside after noticing a ‘chemical’ smell one morning. Mrs Rae later collapsed in the shower and had to be treated by paramedics
Rae’s refrigerator is a 2019 Samsung SR520BLSTC model, which has no recall listed in the government’s product recall database

She said they had stabilized her and that she would “detoxify” as long as she stayed away from the source of the chemicals and breathed clean air.

The couple later called an independent refrigerator technician from Coast Appliances who performed an inspection, found several problems, and labeled the refrigerator as non-compliant.

The technician found, among other things, leakage of coolant and lubricating oil.

Professor Gary Anderson from the University of Melbourne’s Lung Health Research Centre said the chemical refrigerant isobutane is found in all refrigerators and is generally considered safe.

But he added that prolonged exposure can cause “fuzziness” and, in large doses, can cause someone to pass out.

The couple contacted Samsung, which offered to refund the $974 for the refrigerator but said it would not admit to any product defect and required them to sign a legal document saying they could not discuss it.

The agreement would also see the refrigerator returned to Samsung, insulating the company from any legal claims the Raes might have in the future.

The couple did not accept the offer, claiming it was a form of ‘bullying’.

Instead, they filed a formal complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is investigating the matter.

Rae’s refrigerator is a 2019 Samsung SR520BLSTC, which has no recalls listed in the government recall database.

Samsung indicated that it attempted to inspect the refrigerator.

“Samsung Electronics Australia complies with all applicable consumer laws and regulations and considers Mr Rae’s allegations to be extremely serious as multiple attempts have been made to investigate the matter with Mr Rae,” a Samsung spokesperson said.

‘However, Mr Rae has remained unwilling to grant us access to the fridge to investigate or provide evidence to support the allegations, despite being offered a full refund.’

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Samsung Australia for further comment.