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Burning smell from flat-screen TVs and computer monitors?

by mlpearson79 / June 1, 2010 4:40 AM PDT

We are losing our minds looking for the smell we are getting in our house! I read another thread pertaining to this smell and there really was no solution. Is this a common thing? We have two newer flat-screen TVs and a new flat-screen computer and monitor. It is a hot plastic, burning plastic smell. We had the guys from the "Geek squad" come to look at the TV and they found nothing. None of these appear to be particularly dusty and because they are new, there is nothing inside that is dusty. Anyone else experience this?

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Sometimes you can get an odd smell when a TV or monitor is brand new... It's kind of the same as the new carpet smell. There's some chemicals on the system, which tend to get trapped when they seal the unit up for shipment and sale, so it's really strong for a couple days/weeks until it's had proper time to "air out".

But if you're still getting the smell, and it's been quite a while, be sure to check outlets and power strips, not just the TVs and monitors themselves.

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Toxic Plastics or Circuit Boards
by Greg_KanataON / December 27, 2013 10:46 PM PST

Zero question about the source: People like me are 'sensitive' (nose wise) and I can tell U we will be returning a brand new Sony KDL 50R550A whose plastics or circuit boards are off-gassing some chemicals that I think would be foolish to consider 'harmless' without proof. Straight out of the box cold, though of course, it is worse as it heats up a bit (the TV does NOT run hot, not even warm air leaves its vents). Yet most people either DO NOT smell what I smell, or hope that it IS 'harmless' (and do nothing about it).

We need to START demanding that TV manufacturers stop poisoning our home environments. TV's never used to smell like they do now (the flat screens TV's and computer monitors of this new millennium). AND in MANY cases the smell does NOT GO AWAY in a few days (like the manufacturers love to assure U it will). Many people have experienced it. My parents bought a Samsung LED LCD 2 years ago and I can STILL and EASILY smell it off gassing chemicals.

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What you're smelling
by Jimmy Greystone / December 28, 2013 12:06 AM PST

What you're smelling is almost certainly just burning dust. Dust collects when the unit is off and then when it heats up the particulate matter that makes up what we call dust starts to burn releasing gaseous odors into the air.

This also happened just as much, probably more, with older TVs that used far more electricity and would thus have much more "waste" heat, but you likely didn't notice it because you grew up with those smells and mentally tuned them out. If you could pull someone from the 1800s and put them in front of a CRT TV, they would certainly smell things we don't because they have never been exposed to those smells.

I also have a strong sense of smell and I grew up near a chicken farm as well as an outlet for a lake where in the summer it was not uncommon to have dead carp floating on by. One time at an old job a rat managed to find its way into the building and died not too far from my work area. I barely even noticed the smell that nearly made others vomit.

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Absolutely Right
by Lovely1Williams / June 8, 2015 8:38 PM PDT

I agree.with you 1000%* and then some. Likewise for those who says the smell goes away, its been two weeks and is overbearing. Even the babies have since enough to keep.rubbing their noses to the polluted, can't help but think toxic smell when its on! I love the tv but its gotta.go! I was hope the smell would fo away and didn't say anything, but after my husband said, " Woe',,,we're going to have to keep a window open to breath!" That it was clearly understood that this is unmistakably an issue for me that I am not willing to.risk for the health of myself or family! Everyone in the house who walks into the kids to watch movies on the new vizio hd smart television notice the smell without me having to ask!!!!!!!!!' So clearly its obvious Iif it.interrupts the hottest movies running right now! Especially when your conscious of your health and well being, and we have to be this day in age, if we want to "live"! Its not rocket science! Just too darn obvious to ignore and play a dummy for anothers experimental scientific project that may cause "Jack & Jill"',to go tumbling down the hill!

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Burning is definitely not dust.
by Daffyman / September 26, 2015 6:00 PM PDT

I recently purchased a 32" Toshiba LED Smart TV. I noticed a burnt smell from the time I turned the tv on. It seemed to work fine but the smell bothered me. I am 67yo and I have asthma. I also have a cat. I started to wonder if this odour was toxic. I contacted Toshiba by Internet chat. I was told to unplug the tv from the wall and to return it to the store where I purchased it. I did so the next day. The person who exchanged the tv remarked on how she could smell the burnt smell. When I got the replacement home I didn't open the box till later that night. When I opened the box the first thing I smelled was that burnt smell from inside the box. I set up the tv and turned it on. The smell was even worse than the tv I had exchanged. I sent an email to the store asking them if the tv was going to burst into flames or if I would just die from toxic odour. I haven't heard back yet. The tv continues to function properly and smell.

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I'd return the replacement
by itsdigger / September 26, 2015 6:10 PM PDT

If you were told to bring the first one because of the smell, why would you keep the second with the same issue ?

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Why I keep my burning tv.
by Daffyman / September 26, 2015 7:46 PM PDT

I kept it because I bought the first one online. The second one I got from the store. They came from two separate places which leads me to believe they are all like this. If I exchange this one I'll just get another burning tv. If I could find another brand of tv then I would exchange it. The tv would have to have the same dimensions in order to fit my entertainment unit. The tv was assembled in Tijuana Mexico. Maybe they pay slave wages and they are not assembled properly. I have a one year warranty so if it bursts into flames during that time, I will get my money back. Maybe they will recall them before that.

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who knows
by renegade600 / September 26, 2015 9:17 PM PDT

without knowing what type of burning smell it is, it is tough to say if it is toxic. Is it like plastic, oil, wood, paper or other? It could go away once you break it in or there could be something wrong with it. Contact tech support under their warranty. I did a quick search for burning smell in toshiba tv and it looks like it is very common.

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Exchanged tv for Insignia
by Daffyman / October 12, 2015 3:14 PM PDT
In reply to: who knows

I took the second Toshiba back. The smell of burning plastic was everywhere. I exchanged it for an Insignia Roku Smart TV. I even received money back. The Insignia is great, no problems at all. The smell from that Toshiba was never going to go away. It just seemed to be getting worse. I am extremely satisfied with my new tv. I will never purchase a Toshiba product again.

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Stinky TVs and monitor
by SkokieRes / April 17, 2016 11:00 AM PDT

My 4 year old Insignia TV worked well but after 2 hours of play it would emit a foul odor of burning plastic or circuitry that would remain in the room for hours after it was turned off. I figured out that by lighting a candle to burn for 4-6 hours the bad odor would be eliminated.
I decided to replace the TV to see if I could find one that did not stink and plan to return the second replacement TV today to see if another one might be better. I tried Seiki and Samsung with no luck, same bad odor even though both were brand new so its not likely old dust burning.
Thinking that I might be getting weird, a 3 year old HP monitor for computer is now also giving off the same unpleasant odor as the TVs and by burning a candle in the room with each odor emitting product the odor disappears. Plan to search the net today in case somebody can recommend a brand that does not emit and return the Samsung. The revenge of China or Korea or wherever all this technology is being produced?

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azards of chemicals in electronics
by markpinto / July 11, 2016 10:08 PM PDT
In reply to: Stinky TVs and monitor

Some brominated flame retardants, used in circuit boards and plastic casings, do not break down easily and build up in the environment. Long-term exposure can lead to impaired learning and memory functions. They can also interfere with thyroid and estrogen hormone systems.

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