In Australia, wheat bags have been a part of growing up for years. We all had one given to take to bed. We use them all through winter to keep our toes warm. If you or anyone you know do this, there are a few things you need to know.
In New South Wales alone there have been 31 fires as a result of wheat bags (news article) - injuring 11 people and killing one elderly woman. Coronerâ€™s court report
In the UK, the number of fires caused by wheat bags have jumped 500% in 2010 compared to 2009 (source) and increasing till date.
The inquest heard that if the grains of wheat in the bag become too hot they can spontaneously combust, particularly in older packs when the wheat has started disintegrating. ''If the bag is placed in a bed under bedclothes, combustion is more likely because the heat can't dissipate.'' fire investigator Inspector in Australia Graham Moore said.
The inquest also heard that in the two years since the fatal Caringbah fire there have been two other fires in units that police and fire fighters believe were started by wheat bags. In both fires, at Darling Point and Padstow, the elderly residents were using a wheat bag as a bed warmer. In each case the victim suffered smoke inhalation.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Bronwyn Lorenc, said there was little regulation of how the bags were made, including an absence of any requirement that they are made of fire-resistant materials.''These products vary from handmade wheat packs sold at craft markets, to therapeutic heat packs manufactured especially for medical heat treatment'' Ms Lorenc said:
''There is no current Australian standard relating to wheat bags, nor are there any current proposals. For homemade bags in particular there may be no steps taken to reduce fire risk.''
Â· A wheat bag can let the supply of wheat into your system simply through your sweat glands and could cause other allergic reactions as a ceoliac it could be more harmful. . Wheat intolerant means no wheat.
Â· Every time you heat the wheat bag you are cooking the wheat.
Â· Therefore, after just a few uses, the wheat could be charred and easily combusted.
Â· Most aged care facilities have banned them for that reason as well as difficulty in gauging just how hot they are which can lead to burns on sensitive skin.
Here is some compelling evidence about the dangers of wheat bags: