To the Editor:Permit me to respond to “Recycled airbags are unsafe” (Letters, May 7). The debate over recycled airbags in collision repair is sometimes controversial and always interesting. Lack of familiarity with the technology and a certain vested interest in maintaining high airbag service part prices without doubt account for much of the confusion.
However, in the last two years, technical concerns about the use of recycled airbags in collision repairs have largely abated. Much of this progress can be attributed to education about the technology and the growing body of research on recycled airbags.
Studies conducted by organizations such as the Automotive Recyclers Association, Insurance Corp. of British Columbia and our company, Airbag Testing Technology, indicate that undeployed, OEM airbags are safe alternatives to new when correctly installed.
The real danger is not recycled airbags, but the lack of a widely accepted alternative to new. In other consumables (e.g. tires, sheet metal, wheels, radiators etc.), there are alternatives to new. OE service prices reflect this. Equivalent competition does not exist in the airbag market.
The solution in our view is competition. A logical, cost-effective and safe alternative is recycled OEM airbags that have been fully tested and certified. When tested airbags are installed correctly in the vehicle for which they were designed, they will perform as new. The requirement that the airbag be of the correct type and be installed correctly applies to a new service part as well.