Since 1998, at least 11 deaths and 1,200 emergency room visits have been reported in connection with gas can explosions during the pouring of gasoline. At first glance, these numbers may not seem very high considering that there are more than 100 million plastic gas cans in circulation across the country right now. Even one death that could have been prevented is one too many though. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is currently calling on the gas can industry to include flame arrestors on all new gas cans to make them safe for consumer use.
The Right Conditions
Surviving victims and their loved ones had to learn about the dangers of using these plastic gas cans the hard way. Apparently, with just the right conditions, these supposedly safe gas containers can be lethal bombs. According to tests conducted at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s combustion lab, “flashback” can occur when there is a small amount of gasoline left in a can. The vapor escaping the can might come into contact with a spark or flame, and then the vapor ignites and “flashes back” into the container. If the air/gas vapor mixture is a certain concentration, the container will explode like a bomb.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Recommendation
The CPSC has recently issued a statement calling on manufacturers of consumer gas cans to include flame-arresting technology into all new gasoline containers. A flame arrestor is basically a piece of mesh or disk with holes in it. Flame arrestor technology is already being utilized in a number of consumer products. They’re used in the spouts of some metal “safety” gas cans, fuel tanks and storage containers for flammable liquids. The flame arrestor keeps a flame from reaching the volatile liquid and igniting what is basically a bomb.
At least 80 lawsuits have been filed over the past 20 years on behalf of individuals who were burned and injured in alleged gas can explosions. Most of the lawsuits have named Blitz USA, one of the largest manufacturers of plastic gas cans. If you or somebody you love has been injured by an exploding gas can, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Product liability cases require the expertise of an experienced attorney, and many states have comprehensive product liability statutes.
After an Injury
If you’ve been injured by a faulty or defective product, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Altman Legal Group at 1-800-772-0828 for a free consultation.