(Phoenix, Ariz. - June 23, 2005) Attorney General Terry Goddard today urged Arizona Law Enforcement Officials to replace their bullet-proof vests manufactured by Second Chance Body Armor, Inc. following the company’s announcement declaring Zylon, the material used to make the vests, unsafe.
The company issued “Safety Notices” this week concerning three of the body armor vests it manufactured. Second Chance advised customers that “due to a potential for serious personal injury or death” it is recommended that they take “immediate steps to replace” the products. The products are: All Tri-Flex vests and all Ultima and the Ultimax vests, including those with Second Chance “Performance Pacs.”
“This announcement confirms what we have been saying about the safety of these vests for the last year and a half, “Goddard said. “Peoples’ lives are at stake. Arizona officers wearing any Second Chance vests containing Zylon are in danger. My concern at this time is ensuring that all law enforcement officers replace these vests as soon as possible.”
Goddard’s office filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Second Chance in January 2004 based on Second Chance’s advertisement and sale of bullet-resistant vests made with a “Zylon” fiber, including the Ultima, the Ultimax, and the Tri-Flex vests. The lawsuit alleges that Second Chance defrauded consumers by failing to disclose that the Zylon fibers used in the manufacturing of the vests may degrade prematurely and not provide the warranted level of protection.
Second Chance stopped selling the Ultima and Ultimax vests in September 2003, but failed to provide officers with a viable replacement of the vests. The company offered officers the option to purchase a non-Zylon insert to the Ultima and Ultimax vests called a Performance Pac, but failed to offer any replacement options for officers who purchased TriFlex vests. Yesterday’s announcement included warnings about the TriFlex vests and the Performance Pac inserts.
“Some officers may still be using these vests based on assurances made by the company that they were safe,” Goddard said. “We are lucky there hasn’t been a loss of life, and it is important that these vests are replaced as soon as possible to ensure officer safety.”