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Takata Started Changing Its Air-Bag Design Back in 2008 to Cut Risks

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Takata Corp., the air-bag maker that agreed to the largest automotive recall in U.S. history Tuesday, began changing the safety devices in 2008 to reduce the risk that humidity would cause them to deploy abnormally, three people familiar with the matter said.

The company changed the composition of its propellant mix to mitigate the effect of humidity after Honda Motor Co. announced the first recall related to the flaw in 2008, the people said, asking not to be named because they aren’t authorized to talk with the media. High humidity has been linked to a degradation of the propellant, increasing the risk that air bags may rupture and shoot fragments at vehicle occupants.