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The Danger of Cooking Spray and Explosion Risks—An Overview

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spam cooking spray fire illustration

There have been numerous recent reports of aerosol cans of cooking spray—such as PAM brand cooking spray—exploding near the stove and leaving victims with severe burn injuries. Innocent consumers across the United States have been victims of severe bodily injuries, including burns to their hands, face and neck, due to a seemingly innocent pantry staple violently exploding on them.

If you have an aerosol spray can of PAM cooking spray, you should read the information below and in our following three articles that will overview the dangers of these cans, the design defects that are causing these explosions and the injuries suffered by unsuspecting victims, and whether a lawsuit could be a path forward for you.

The Danger of Exploding Cooking Spray Cans: A Violent History.

Sadly, it’s not breaking news that innocent consumers are falling victim to exploding aerosol cans of cooking spray. In fact, this danger has a well-documented history in America; still, however, these hidden dangers are still sold by the millions in grocery stores nationwide.

There have been dozens of victims claiming that aerosol cooking spray cans have exploded violently without warning, leaving them scarred with serious injuries and burns.

Perhaps one of the worst cases involves an Ohio woman who was cooking by the stove in 2017, using a can of PAM brand cooking spray while she cooked food at the stovetop. All she could recall about the incident was that she was cooking, putting a fork in the pan, when the explosion blast happened in a moment. She said that the next thing she realized was that she was on fire.

The woman suffered severe burns to her face, neck and chest. Doctors said that had her eyes been open at the moment of the blast, she would likely be blind. She suffered from her injuries for weeks as she recovered in an outpatient facility. She struggled for months to return to normal activities, like dressing herself and bathing.

Experts reviewing this fire and similar fires say that the aerosol can of PAM cooking spray overheated from the heat of the nearby stove, or fell into a flame of the stove, and as a result of the heat combusted into a fireball explosion. Similar cases have occurred across the United States, in Connecticut, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and others.

So Why Do These Explosions Keep Occurring?

Because of the violent nature of these explosions—and the resulting serious injuries—naturally there have been numerous investigations into the cause of the blasts.

These investigations include reports by expert scientific witnesses who have testified about the cause of the explosions in several of the lawsuits that have come from these explosions, brought by innocent victims seeking reimbursement for their horrific injuries.

After a scientific review, these experts concluded that a design flaw in the aerosol cooking spray cans were the likely cause for the explosions.

Each of the cans that caused an explosion had vents along the bottom of the cans. The evident intent of these vents was to help release the pressure from the can, to help prevent it from exploding during normal use. But it turns out that these vents were doing the exact opposite.

Instead of releasing the internal pressure from the cans, the vents were releasing air at much lower, and much less-pressurized levels than should be released from an aerosol can vent. These levels were well below what would be necessary to release pressure from the can to ensure safety during use. And because of the low temperature and pressure, the air released was extremely flammable.

This flammable air released from the aerosol cooking spray cans, when combined with either heat from a nearby stove or by accidentally being dropped in a hot stove, triggered an immediate and violent blast. The resulting explosions were essentially fireballs, exploding right in the face of the victims.

We’ve written a detailed overview of the design defect of these cans, and why that could be important to recover damages if you’ve suffered injuries from an exploding can. You can read more here.

What Kinds of Injuries Occur from These Explosions?

Exploding cans of cooking spray can cause immediate—and horrific—injuries. These injuries are those that would typically come with a large fire or violent explosion, such as:

  • First degree burns to exposed
    areas, such as the neck, hands, face and chest;
  • Second degree burns in these
    areas that penetrate both the outer and middle layers of the skin and can take
    weeks to recover;
  • Third degree burns in these
    bodily areas that penetrate the deeper tissues of the body and can cause
    lifelong injuries and deformations, and can take months to heal;
  • Blindness from open eyes at the
    time of the explosion;
  • And death.

We’ve outlined the types of injuries and cases that have occurred as a result of these dangerous devices.  You can read more here.

What Can Victims of these Cooking Spray Explosions Do?

If you’ve been a victim of injury from a cooking spray can explosion, there are laws that protect you and legal options that can help you recover for your hospital bills, physical disrepair to your home and other damages you suffered from the explosion.

In the United States, we have consumer protection laws, both at the state and federal level, that are meant to protect you in situations like this where a consumer product is unsafe. Products sold to consumers in stores—like PAM brand cooking spray—must comply with these laws. Products like cooking spray must be safe for “ordinary use,” which means how a reasonable person would use the product according to the package instructions.

Hiring an experienced product liability litigation attorney is always in your best interest if you’ve been a victim of these explosions. Having a knowledgeable attorney at your side when facing a global manufacturing company in the courtroom can significantly increase the changes of obtaining a favorable result, whether that is at settlement or at trial. Victims attempting lawsuits without an attorney have reported much lower compensation, as they face intimidating large companies and their attorneys.

You can read about how you could bring a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries and damages in our article here.

So if you or someone you love has suffered injuries from a cooking spray can explosion, you should read further through our articles on the design defect of the cans, the types of injuries these explosions have caused, and how you could recover damages for your suffering through a lawsuit.

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Defective Products

Excedrin Issues Recall for Headache Medicine

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Less than a week before what is known as the biggest hangover day of the year on New Year’s Eve, one of the biggest manufacturers of OTC headache medicines has issued a major recall. Excedrin is recalling five different brands, which was announced the day before Christmas Eve, December 23.

This recall includes Excedrin Migraine Geltabs and Caplets as well as Excedrin Extra Strength Caplets, Excedrin Tension Headache Caplets, and Excedrin PM Headache Caplets. The reason for the recall was for a failure to meet child resistant packaging requirements. Some of the medications may be able to develop holes in the bottom of the containers, which would give easier access to children. They could consume the pills, which could cause poisoning.

The Poison Prevention Packaging Act requires medications with the ingredients acetaminophen and aspirin to be in child resistant packaging. Almost 434,000 bottles were recalled. The bottles impacted by the recall have been on the market between March 2018 and September 2020. Bottles included in the recall include those with 50-, 80-, 100-, 125-, 250- and 300-count packages.

No reports of injury have been made so far, but it is recommended that consumers store the medication out of reach of children. They should also check the bottoms of the bottles. If you find a hole in the bottle, contact the company for a refund. You can call 800-468-7746 for further instructions.

Dangers of Overdose

An overdose of this kind of medication could have serious and potentially fatal effects. The first signs of an overdose of Excedrin from the acetaminophen include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, sweating, confusion, weakness and stomach pain. If not treated, it could cause pain in the upper stomach, yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes, and dark urine. You may also notice headache, hallucinations, a fast or slow heart rate, diarrhea, ringing in the ears and convulsions.

An overdose of this medication can lead to liver damage or death. If you find that a child has taken the medicine or suspect it may be the case, call Poison Control immediately. Immediate emergency medical attention is necessary.

The interactions between Excedrin and other medications with aspirin or acetaminophen can be serious and dangerous, which could lead to a fatal overdose. These two ingredients are found in other medications, which makes an overdose of Excedrin even more dangerous.

It is also possible that a child may have an allergic reaction to taking Excedrin. Symptoms include swelling of the face, tongue, lips or throat, difficulty breathing, and hives. Take any complaints seriously and get help right away.

Another rare reaction to medications which contain acetaminophen include a skin issue, which causes peeling and blistering. It can happen even if you’ve taken the medication before with no problems. It can cause you to feel light-headed, agitation, panic, confusion and bleeding.

More common side effects from this medication include upset stomach and feeling anxious or depressed as well as insomnia. If you are concerned that a child may have taken the medication, get medical attention as soon as possible.

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Study Shows Lung Damage in One-Third of E-Cigarette Users

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A new study indicates that about 33 percent of people who vape have symptoms that are usually associated with lung damage. In fact, the report shows that they have at least one and possibly more of the five symptoms linked to lung damage.

Information from the Study

Scientists have linked five symptoms to what is known as EVALI or e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury. These symptoms include the following:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain

The study goes on to say that those who chose disposable e-cigarettes had a lower rate of the symptoms. This information indicates that the damage is at least partially related to the ingredients used in the vaping devices. Many users experiment with ingredients that haven’t been regulated and use devices that haven’t been tested.

According to the researchers, the symptoms were particularly prevalent for those who used flavored products or altered the products. They were surprised at the strong correlation.

The study had over 1400 people who vaped in the year 2016. They listed the devices and products used and reported any symptoms they noticed. Over half, at 55 percent, noted that they had at least one and often more of the symptoms. One-third of the participants reported symptoms that could be linked directly to EVALI, the disease that was named after numerous people fell ill from vaping.

The rate of symptoms reported went up to 70 percent if the devices used e-liquid. They were also 95 percent more likely to report symptoms associated with EVALI if their devices had refillable cartridges. Flavored cigarettes were associated with a 71 percent likelihood of the user reporting symptoms. When users mixed their own e-liquid into the vaporizers, about 40 percent reported symptoms.

This data indicates that the damage is more widespread than just those who used THC or vitamin E acetate, which were both linked to the EVALI outbreak in 2019. The data from this study was scheduled to be presented to the American Heart Association. The US Food and Drug Administration has stated that they plan to increase regulations of e-cigarettes.

Warnings Against Vaping

The researchers continually recommend that people don’t vape. If they choose to, the recommendation is to be careful with the products chosen and not to modify them. Users who select refillable cartridges are often more willing to experiment and try new e-liquids as well as different flavors.

According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2020, 3.6 million users are teens and children. Out of those currently using, four-fifths of them have been using flavored e-cigarettes. While the FDA has banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, it doesn’t include disposable cartridges. Addiction and long-term use are concerns since almost all cigarette smokers started before they turned 20 years of age.

There is still relatively little information about long-term damage since widespread use of e-cigarettes has been recent. It may take several years of research to know the correlation between vaping and lung cancer or other long-term or terminal health issues.

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Defective Products

Recall of Saws Sold at Lowe’s for Cutting Hazard

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Two saws which are sold at Lowe’s have been recalled because of the danger of the user getting cut while using them. These saws are electric cordless models, which are sold in stores and on the Lowe’s website.

Saw Recalls

Over 256,000 saws were part of the recall, all of which were distributed by Hongkong Sun Rise Trading. Consumers have been told to contact the distributor to get a free repair. Almost half of the products are Kobalt 40-volt Lithium Ion eight-inch cordless electric pole saws. The recall affected just over 106,000 models because the switch may not work correctly with a heavy load. If this happens, the saw may keep running after the user takes their finger off the trigger. This increases a risk of laceration to the person.

The rest of the saws involved in the recall are also Kobalt 40-volt electric cordless chainsaws. They are being recalled because the saws may stay in the on position. They cost around $200 and the products affected were sold between January 2014 and March 2020. The pole saws are slightly less expensive at $180. They were sold between March 2017 and October 2019.

Consumers who own the products may contact Hongkong Sun Rise Trading at 855-378-8826 between 9AM and 8PM ET Monday through Thursday or Friday through Sunday between 9AM and 5PM ET. The distributor asks consumers to stop using the equipment immediately and call for a free repair.

Other recalled products are listed on the website for the distributor: www.greenworkstools.com. Just click on Important Safety Notices to see the full list of recalled equipment. The most previous products were recalled back in 2018, including a Kobalt 80V 18-inch cordless electric chainsaw.

The Dangers of Chainsaws

Chainsaws are a dangerous piece of equipment to use and should be handled with care. It’s important to wear proper safety gear when using a chainsaw or pole saw. Even when they work correctly, they carry a significant risk for injury.

Almost half of accidents involving chainsaws happen on the legs with another third involving the left wrist and hand, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. It takes 110 stitches to repair the average injury from a chainsaw.

The typical user of a chainsaw may be in the residential sector with a DIY person trimming tree limbs or cutting other wooden items. Commercial landscapers also use chainsaws on a regular basis and carry an inherent risk for injury due to the frequency of use. They may become tired and not pay attention to what is going on, which could allow the chainsaw to slip.

Even with non-defective products, chainsaws and other saws are dangerous and should only be handled by those who have been adequately trained. If the product is found to be defective, it increases the risk for injury. In any situation, the user should wear protective equipment and not work alone to decrease the risk of damage from these pieces of equipment.

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