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Plastic Gas Cans: Children Are Hurt in 40 Percent of Documented Explosions

Three-year-old Landon Beadore was mom’s official little helper, according to his dad, Paul. One of his duties was to pick up toys before his mom mowed the yard. “He was putting his sister’s bike in the cellar when he accidentally tips over the gas can,” recalls his dad. “Vapors from the gas can went along the cellar floor. There was an ignition and the fire occurred.” Landon was burned over 47 percent of his body. “I couldn't move. I couldn’t move,” he later told his dad. His shoes and feet had melted into the floor.Experts and lawyers in Landon’s case and dozens more involving 75 reported burn victims – nearly 40 percent of them children – believe that a small part called a flame arrester, costing less than $1, could have prevented these horrific injuries. Even more disturbing, they say, is that despite ample evidence that these plastic containers are more prone to explosions, manufacturers and the government watchdog Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) haven’t acted to install arresters or warned consumers of the defect. Ironically, flame arresters are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Care Administration (OSHA) in workplace gas cans.As far back as 1973, Consumer Reports magazine wrote: “Should fumes outside the gas can ignite as you pour or fill, a flashback fire is possible that could ignite the contents of the can itself. Such accidents can be prevented by a flame arrester, which we think should be legally required in all openings like these.”

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