Attack of the Killer Packaging!?

June 23, 2008 7:05:52 PM PDT
Everybody hates the plastic clamshell packages - you can't buy batteries, electronics, or kids yous without them. So why are they still around?

If you've ever tried to open one of them... You know how difficult it can be.

It is struggle sending hundreds of people to the hospital.

"This is razor-sharp. If I went like this - I'm done," says Dr. Randall Culp, of the Philadelphia Hand Center. He says clamshell plastic packages aren't just annoying, they're dangerous.

He says people come to Jefferson's emergency room every day with cuts to their hands from trying to open the packaging, and there's at least one injury each month-serious enough to require surgery. They are caused either by the plastic itself, or the cutters people use to remove it.

Dr. Culp says he sees, "Injuries to nerves, or injuries to tendons that require surgical repair. The most common involve the thumb and index finger."

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded 65-hundred E-R visits in 2004, due to plastic packaging.

The incidents rise at Christmas-time, as people scramble to open their gifts.

Dr. Culp says manufacturers know the clamshell plastic packages are bad for hands - and bad the environment, but they do prevent theft.

"They're light, they're cheap, and they work," he says,

But a few packages... like these lightbulbs... come with instructions.

Others connect the two halves with "snaps" so they can be pulled apart easily and reclosed.

But because the majority of packaging doesn't have these safeguards... Dr. Culp recommends cutting the plastic all the way around... Then lift the two sides apart.

And he has one more reminder, "If you are using a razor blade or something else, do not cut towards you."