September 28, 2015 / 7:34 AM / 2 years ago

U.S. regulator considers expanding Takata air bag recalls: Bloomberg

(Reuters) - The U.S. regulator overseeing the replacement of Takata Corp 7312.T air bags is considering an order that would expand the recalls and has contacted seven manufacturers who could be affected, including Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE and Tesla Motors Inc TSLA.O, Bloomberg reported.

Visitors walk behind a logo of Takata Corp on its display at a showroom for vehicles in Tokyo, Japan, June 25, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Takata identified the seven as companies it supplied with air bag inflators that use ammonium nitrate propellant, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in letters dated Sept. 22, Bloomberg reported. (bloom.bg/1P0PT8d)

Reuters could not immediately verify the contents of the letters or reach the NHTSA, Takata, Volkswagen and Tesla for comment.

Takata air bag inflators have been linked to eight deaths and more than 100 injuries. The devices can explode with too much force, spraying metal shrapnel into vehicle passenger compartments. About 19 million Takata inflators remain installed in U.S. vehicles.

No cause has been determined. But experts believe ammonium nitrate, the propellant used by Takata, may become unstable over time when exposed to humidity. Takata is the only air bag manufacturer that uses ammonium nitrate, a practice that has raised questions in Congress about the safety of replacement products being used in the recall.

Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bengaluru; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi

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