The 2002 BMW 3-series is one of several cars affected b... The 2002 BMW 3-series is one of several cars affected by an airbag recall announced Tuesday. (Photo courtesy BMW).
BMW is the latest auto manufacturer to recall cars because of a potentially dangerous airbag-related defect.

On Tuesday, the German carmaker announced it would recall 42,080 cars in the United States because of a hazard in an airbag supplied by Takata, a global manufacturer of airbags, could shower vehicle occupants with shrapnel if they deployed in an accident.

It's the sixth time within the past month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a recall related to Takata's products. Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Mazda have all issued Takata-related recalls since April 11.

BMW spokesperson Bernhard Santer says the company's recall comes nearly a month after the rest because, "Unfortunately, we were informed later than other OEMs."

In the U.S., BMW said the recall announced today affects certain 3-series vehicles from the model years 2002 and 2003, including sedans, coupes, convertibles and sports wagons. It also affects M3 coupes and convertibles manufactured for the same model years.

The recall affects approximately 220,000 BMW vehicles worldwide, the company said in a written statement.

Takata informed BMW the potential problem with the airbag inflators was similar - though not identical - to the problems experienced by other auto manufacturers, according to NHTSA documents, in which increased pressure from a manufacturing defect could rupture the housing that holds airbags and shower motorists with metal fragments.

BMW says affected customers will be notified by mail, and that replacement parts should be at dealerships within two months. The company said it is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to the problem.

That's not the case with other auto manufacturers. On Christmas Eve 2012, Virginia resident Guddi Rathore was involved in a minor accident with a mail truck. Although the cars sustained only minor damage, a Takata-supplied airbag in her 2001 Honda Accord exploded, and the shrapnel severed arteries in her neck.

She bled to death in front of her three children, according to Elizabeth West, her family attorney. Her family has settled a lawsuit against Takata and Honda, and the agreement contains a confidentiality clause that prohibits them from further discussing the accident.

As with the other Takata-related recalls, the company says that propellant wafers that were incorrectly produced at factories in Washington state and Mexico are at the source of the problem.

The number of airbag recalls has more than doubled over the past six months. Tuesday's BMW recall marks the 23rd airbag-related recall in the past six months. In the previous six-month period, there were 10.

Takata products have been involved in nine of the 23 recalls.

Pete Bigelow is an associate editor at AOL Autos. He can be reached via email at peter.bigelow@teamaol.com and followed @PeterCBigelow.

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