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Japanese Auto Supplier Under Scrutiny for Faulty Airbags

FILE - Journalists visit the production of pyro-electric airbag initiators at the international automotive supplier Takata Ignition Systems GmbH in Schoenebeck, Germany.

A Japanese auto supplier is at the center of a global recall of millions of defective automobile airbag.

At least four deaths and dozens of injuries have been blamed on the faulty devices manufactured by Takata Corporation. The airbags explode with so much force they send flying shrapnel, or pieces of sharp metal, at the driver and any other occupants of the car.

Takata says the problem is caused by high humidity, which causes the chemical propellant that inflates the airbag to explode.

Between 12- and 16-million automobiles with the defective airbags have been recalled since the problem was first detected in 2008, with at least 10 million of them sold in the United States. Models from at least 10 automakers are involved in the recall, including Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and BMW.

Some information in this report was provided by AP.