CPSC Investigating Dangerous Gel Firepots

We recently wrote that 14-year-old Michael Hubbard of Long Island was fighting for his life at the Stony Brook University Medical Center following an accident with a <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">gel candle.

The candle maker issued a recall of the defective candle after a New York Times report on the dangers of gel candles was printed. Now, Consumer Reports writes that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just initiated an investigation into burn accidents linked to gel fuel use in firepots.

In its press release, the CPSC warned consumers about the types of burn and poisoning accidents associated with adding gel fuel to products such as firepots and tiki torches, wrote Consumer Reports. The investigation is ongoing and followed some burn accidents with fire pots, including two separate New York accidents on which the New York Times reported, said Consumer Reports. The accidents occurred on May 28 and June 3 and involved Napa Home & Garden products that left three people hospitalized with severe burns.

Following these accidents, The Times received reports on six other similar accidents nationwide since last April, said Consumer Reports. Eight people were burned by products manufactured by either Napa Home & Garden or BirdBrain, said The Times.

Last week, we wrote that The Times reported that Napa Home & Garden Inc., manufacturer of firepots and packager of the fuel, told Bed Bath & Beyond to pull both products from its shelves when it heard of two of the accidents. Napa Home & Garden Inc., intends to add revised warning labels on both products. A Bed Bath & Beyond spokesperson confirmed the recall, said The Times.

The Gothamist noted that the products are marketed as “the Safe Pourable Gel.” The fuel pots and the gel carry small warning labels “meant to be thrown away,” wrote The Gothamist. Napa Home & Garden Inc. told The Times that, “there is more than likely a learning curve for the marketplace that needs to take place.”
On Monday, Napa Home & Garden Inc. issued a press release that stated it placed a “precautionary hold” on sale of its products while it looks into product safety and warning appropriateness, said Consumer Affairs.

According to Consumer Affairs’ Senior Director of Product Safety, Don Mays, “The product should not result in explosions and severe burns in the event that the warning labels are not read or heeded.”

Consumer Affairs wrote that the CPSC issued a warning against adding the fuel to open flames and hot candles, citing splattering fuel and fires it described as “uncontrolled.” The CPSC advises, said Consumer Affairs, that the fuel only be added when there are no flames or the product feels cool when touched.

The gel fuel should also be maintained securely and out of the reach of children; gel fuel contains petroleum distillates, which is a type of hydrocarbon chemicals. If ingested, these chemicals can cause chemical pneumonia, pulmonary edema, or death, the press release said, wrote Consumer Affairs, which noted that the child-resistant cap should be replaced after use.

Michael Hubbard remains in an induced coma.

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