I suspect many of our readers have kept plastic gas cans in their garage or storage sheds from time-to-time. I have to confess that in the past I have done so on occasion. Plastic gas cans make up 95% of the 19 million gas cans sold in the U.S. each year. Blitz USA, once America’s largest plastic gas can manufacturer, is responsible for 75% of all sales. Blitz manufactured approximately 150 million plastic gas cans that are currently used and in circulation. Unfortunately, these gas cans were manufactured without a “flame arrester” which would keep the fumes inside the gas can while the gas is being poured. Blitz ignored its own overwhelming test results that showed its gas cans exploding because of this manufacturing defect and chose not to install flame arresters on the plastic gas cans they sold to customers. Because there is no flame arrester, these gas cans have been known to instantly transform into a flamethrower, badly burning innocent people.
Overall, there have been more than 75 known incidents of people being severely burned or killed when a Blitz gas can exploded. Fourteen people were burned to death and, sadly, six of them were children. In one such case, three-year-old Landon Beadore tipped over a plastic gas can while putting away a tricycle. The vapors from the spilled gasoline spread along the floor until they were ignited by a pilot light from a water heater. Young Landon sustained third degree burns over almost half of his body. There were numerous other cases where a Blitz gas can exploded, resulting in serious burn injuries. A flame arrestor would have prevented all of these explosions.
Manufacturers know that they have a legal duty not to offer the public unsafe products without a warning. When unsafe products such as the Blitz gas cans slip through the cracks, there are laws designed to hold these companies legally and financially accountable for the injuries and deaths that result. Several lawsuits have already been filed against Blitz for the manufacturing defect associated with the plastic gas cans. Reports have indicated that it would have cost Blitz as little as 50 cents per gas can to include a flame arrestor. But Blitz put profits over safety and chose to save money rather than fix these ticking time bombs.
With millions of these gas cans still in use around the country, the injuries, deaths, and lawsuits will continue. The American Association for Justice, in a recent statement, had this to say about the Blitz lawsuits:
This is exactly how our civil justice system is supposed to work. When companies make flawed products and knowingly sell them to unsuspecting Americans, when they fail to look out for the welfare of their customers, they must be held accountable.
The civil justice system has been under attack, and these attacks have come from front groups for those in Corporate America who put their own financial interests over the safety of the consuming public.
Sources: ProtectConsumerJustice.Org; FightingForJustice.Org; and TheSafetyReport.com
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