Most Americans believe there are two essentials to any summer backyard bar-b-que, and those are a grill and sunscreen. Unfortunately, when these two seemingly harmless objects are combined, they can create serious permanent injury. If you doubt it, just ask Brett Sigworth. Brett, who is from Massachusetts, suffered second-degree burns when he sprayed sunscreen on his skin and then walked over to his grill. Of course, even if he was aware of the danger of spraying the sunscreen near the grill, he had no idea that the sunscreen could be flammable after sprayed on the skin. The Banana Boat aerosol spray can had this warning, “Flammable, don’t use near heat, flame, or while burning.” But, the can failed to warn that the sunscreen could still be dangerous after it was applied.
According to Banana Boat, while this incident is rare, it’s being taken seriously. The company claims that it is unaware of any prior incidents of its sunscreen catching fire after being applied. But Dr. Darrell Rigel, a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University, says it’s plausible. The sunscreen itself is not what is flammable. It’s the alcohol in the aerosol can that can be dangerous if it is not completely evaporated. Dan Dillard, CEO of the Burn Prevention Network, agreed that the sunscreen probably was not fully absorbed into Brett’s skin when he approached the grill. He observed:
As he approached the flame, the charcoal simply caught the vapor trail and it follows the vapor trail to where the bulk of the substance is, which is on his body.
Brett doesn’t plan to sue Banana Boat, but he wants to make sure that folks are aware that the same thing could happen to them. Brett had this to say about what happened to him:
I think if people were told this is flammable for two minutes on your skin, people wouldn’t use it. It was so scary, and I just wouldn’t want to see it happen to anybody else.
Our firm has successfully handled cases involving flammable products. If you would like additional information on this issue, contact Stephanie Stephens, a lawyer in our Personal Injury section, at Stephanie.Stephens@beasleyallen.com or at 800-898-2034.
Sources: New York Times and Good Morning America
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