U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer is urging the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to seriously consider recalling e-cigarette batteries and devices that have caught fire and exploded seriously injuring dozens around the country. Schumer said the if another product had repeatedly injured people, immediate action would’ve been taken. E-cigarettes should not be an exception, he said. He urged the CPSC and the FDA to investigate and determine which e-cigarette batteries and devices are the most volatile and make “the explosions stop.”
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that are designed to resemble traditional cigarettes. They contain a mechanism that heats up liquid nicotine and turns it into a vapor that smokers can inhale and exhale. According to most recent statistics, about 2.5 million Americans are using e-cigarettes.
This number is only growing. According to the FDA, between 2009 and 2015, there were 92 incidents of overheating, fires or explosions caused by e-cigs in the U.S. The FDA reported that 45 incidents involving e-cigarettes injured 47 people and 67 incidents involved property damage beyond the product. In 2016, the FDA finalized a rule regulating e-cigarettes and vaporizers. Under current laws, manufacturers and importers are required to report potentially hazardous products to the CPSC.
Product Liability Issues
E-cigarettes are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which cause the explosions and fires. When the battery overheats, there is the danger of a fire or explosion. These batteries, which are commonly found in devices such as laptops and cell phones, aren’t supposed to blow up. But when there are defects in the manufacturing process or when they are shoddily made or made with substandard parts, the risk of an explosion or fire is much higher.
E-cigarette explosions have caused severe injuries including burn injuries and broken bones. Those whose e-cigs exploded in their pockets have suffered burns to their thighs and legs so severe that they needed skin graft surgery. Others have suffered loss of vision and severe facial injuries when an e-cigarette exploded while still in use. Burn centers across the country have seen a number of these reports and they only seem to be increasing.
As product defect attorneys who represent the rights of injured victims and their families, we hope federal safety agencies will force a recall of these dangerous products. If you or a loved one has been injured, you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer, retailer, distributor or other responsible parties for the injuries, damages and losses caused.