The federal government has announced the recall of an electronic device used by fishermen to shock worms to the surface of the ground, saying similar devices had caused the deaths of more than 30 people since 1973.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission formally ordered the recall on June 1 of about 83,000 worm probes, which run an electric current through the ground and send out vibrations that shock worms, used by fishermen for bait.
The agency said the devices, which are both sold commercially and made at home by anglers, can electrocute users who touch exposed metal or stand on wet soil while using them. Most of the deaths reported were children.
No deaths had been attributed to the products being recalled, the WG6-S and WG8-L "Worm Getter" worm probes, made by the now-defunct Handy Marketing Co. of Grand Rapids, Mich.
The recalled probes, which were widely distributed by retailers including the Kmart Corp. and Bass Pro Shops, used household electricity.
The retailers said they have stopped selling the probes and would refund customers' money.