The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that roughly 50 million defective Takata airbags are under recall because heat and humidity could cause them to explode upon deployment. That means the devices meant to save lives could cause serious injuries or even death.

We don't want to sensationalize this story or cause a panic, but it'd be a good idea to check your vehicle identification number (VIN) here to see if your airbags are subject to the recall. More vehicles are expected to be subject by December of 2019, so you may want to bookmark that site and check again later just to be safe.

The folks at the NHTSA say there are roughly 37 million vehicles equipped with the defective airbags. The following information is copied directly from their website:

Consumers should also be aware of two critically important details about this recall:

The Danger of “Alpha” Air Bags: Certain 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles, 2006 Ford Ranger, and Mazda B-Series trucks are at a far higher risk for an air bag explosion that could injure or kill vehicle occupants. These are referred to as “Alpha” air bags. These vehicles can and should be repaired immediately. Additional details are available here.

Additional Vehicles Will Be Recalled: Additional air bags are scheduled to be recalled by December 2019, bringing the total number of affected air bags to around 65-70 million. These vehicles do not currently appear affected by this recall using a VIN search. Sign up for Recall Alerts and make sure the address on your registration is current to be sure you’re notified of this or any other future recall.

According to Consumer Reports, the problem airbags "use ammonium nitrate-based propellent without a chemical drying agent". That means high humidity and temperatures, as well as the age of the equipment, can cause a metal cartridge containing propellant wafers to ignite and spray metal shrapnel.

If your vehicle is equipped with the defective airbags, you should be able to get them replaced for free at your local dealership.

The Takata recall has been in the news for some time now. We were reminded about it when we came across this report from KENS-TV's Roxie Bustamante and Doug Delony.