Law Offices of David P. Crandall
Call Today!
free consultation
Local 949-345-1628
Toll free 800-577-8006

Product liability debate rages on over gas can explosions

California readers may be aware of the debate over the safety of the ubiquitous red plastic gas cans that we all use to fill our lawn equipment or refuel our recreational vehicles. Blitz USA is the primary manufacturer of these cans, and estimates suggest that the company controls as much as 75 percent of the market for this product. The cans can be purchased at a wide range of retailers across the nation, and are in the homes and garages of millions of Americans. They have also been the subject of a multitude of product liability lawsuits.

Consumer safety advocates claim that the gas cans lack a basic safety feature that could prevent injuries caused when the contents of the can explode. Such explosions can occur when gas fumes present in the spout of the can ignite, leading to a fire that reaches into the body of the vessel. These fires can result at any time when the can is near a heat source.

The manufacturer could lessen this risk, many claim, by including a flame arresting device in the spout of the cans. These devices are designed to retard the spread of flames from the spout portion of the can into the main holding area, where the fuel itself is stored. Flame arrestors have been in use for nearly 200 years in various forms, and are a relatively cheap and easy modification to the existing design of the cans.

There has been a great deal of debate in California concerning product liability litigation of injuries sustained when these gas cans explode. Some say that misuse of the cans is the cause of most injuries, such as when a user pours gas directly onto a fire. Consumer advocates, however, claim that fires can result when the can is used to refuel a chainsaw or lawn mower, and that very little heat is needed to ignite the fumes present in the spout. As this debate continues, the manufacturer of the cans has pledged to continue studying the issue and whether it makes sense to include the safety device, which costs around 4 cents per can. The process of making that determination began some six years ago.

Source: Media Matters for America, Right-Wing Media Say These Products That Repeatedly Explode Are Safe, Meagan Hatcher-Mays, Dec. 11, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information