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Nine out of 14 brands of dehumidifiers failed to perform at the capacity claimed by the manufacturers under their own test environment, the Consumer Council found.

One model was even found

to have a daily dehumidifying capacity about 17 per cent lower than the advertised capacity under such an environment.

The council also found that half of the 14 models tested had a daily capacity up to 5 per cent lower than the claimed capacity under a standard test environment, while five models underperformed in both the standard and manufacturers’ own test environments.

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The standard environment – set by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department based on the American national standard – means a temperature of 26.7 degrees Celsius with a relative humidity of 60 per cent.

The council has repeatedly urged manufacturers to stop using their own test environment because it does not reflect the actual circumstances of use, but no obvious improvement has been observed so far.
Consumer Council chairman Philip Leung Kwong-hon

But the council said many manufacturers still advertised their products’ performances in their own test environment – 30 degrees Celsius with a relative humidity of 80 per cent – where the capacity would be higher than in the standard environment.

The consumer watchdog also said manufacturers tended to exaggerate the non-standard test environment performances more.

The council said it had passed the findings on to the Customs and Excise Department for follow-up action.

It also urged manufacturers to stop using capacity figures for the non-standard environment, which the council said would “confuse”consumers into thinking the products had higher efficiency.

“The council has repeatedly urged manufacturers to stop using their own test environment because it does not reflect the actual circumstances of use, but no obvious improvement has been observed so far,” said council chairman Philip Leung Kwong-hon.

Under the standard environment, the acceptable discrepancy between the actual and claimed performance is within 10 per cent, according to the council.

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Meanwhile, the council also found that four out of eight models of safety gates for children up to two years old failed to meet the European safety standard, which is more stringent than the American standard. Hong Kong laws require safety gates to meet at least one of the standards.

One model was found to contain excessive monomethyltin compound, which some animal tests showed could lead to learning deficiencies in breastfed baby rats after being consumed by the mother rats. But there is no research data regarding the possible health impact of the compound on people, the council said.

The council also found that four models, which claimed to have an automatic closing function, failed to close and lock automatically in some circumstances. One of the four models was also found to have a gap between the bottom and frame of the gate, presenting the risk of children getting their fingers or toes trapped.