Automakers reveal findings on Takata air bag failures

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Nearly a dozen automakers investigating the cause of the Takata air bag failures reported this week that ammonium nitrate, heat, moisture and manufacturing problems are to blame for the deadly explosions.

Also, Senate Commerce Committee Democrats announced that Takata altered test data even after recalls had already begun, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The automakers findings corroborate results already obtained from studies of the deadly air bags conducted by Takata and the U.S. government. Ten deaths and numerous injuries have been attributed to the faulty devices.

Investigations have revealed that once moisture comes in contact with ammonium nitrate, the air bag’s propellant, it can lead to a greater explosive force during air bag deployment. Heat further destabilizes the substance. As a result, propellant canisters containing the unstable chemical have blown apart like grenades during vehicle collisions, causing death and injuries.

Takata has agreed to pay a $70 million fine to U.S. regulators for not reporting the defective air bag propellant canisters in a timely manner. The Japan-based company has apologized for the defective safety devices, which resulted in the largest recall in U.S. history. More than 24 million vehicles in the U.S. with Takata air bags have been recalled.

Automakers that participated in the investigation include BMW AG, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Honda, Ford, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Nissan, Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru and Toyota.