Lawsuits allege danger of cooking spray can explosions

Six separate lawsuits filed Tuesday allege consumers were severely burned and injured due to explosive cans of cooking spray. The law firm that filed these cases is calling for a nationwide recall, but Conagra, the company that makes PAM, is standing by its products.

A 911 recording captured the moments after lawyers for Y'Tesia Taylor said a can of PAM cooking spray exploded.

"She was cooking and something exploded and she's got burns all over her arms and face."

LINK: Complaint: Y'Tesia Taylor

The lawsuit said the college student was cooking at home when she set the can on a cart separate from the stove, heard a sudden pop, and was immediately engulfed in a fireball. Taylor suffered serious burns and was placed in a medically induced coma for two weeks.

"In 2011, Conagra changed their cooking spray cans to incorporate vents on the bottom of the cans," said Craig Smith, Taylor's attorney.

LINK: Complaint: Maria Mariani

Smith said the cans involved in the lawsuits are mostly 10-ounce cans or bigger.

"The vents are designed to open when the cans are heated," he said.

LINK: Complaint: Raveen Sugantheraj and Paytene Pivonkia

Smith alleges the cans are faulty, dangerous, and prone to explosion since the vents allow extremely flammable gases to escape.

"I'm trying to protect other folks as well to keep them from being burned," he said.

Tuesday morning, Smith filed six separate lawsuits on behalf of victims he said have already been severely burned. They include Maria Mariani, Raveen Sugantheraj and Paytene Pivonkia and Jacob Dalton who were all burned in home kitchens. Reveriano Duran is a cook who was injured in a commercial kitchen.

LINK: Complaint: Jacob Dalton

"Fellow was just doing his job at a restaurant. It's security camera video," Smith said.

Conagra Brands Inc. manufactures PAM and other similar cooking spray brands. It said the vast majority of the PAM cooking sprays used in people's homes are the smaller, 6-ounce size.

LINK: Complaint: Reveriano Duran

It also said, "We fully stand by this product....and when PAM is used correctly and properly as demonstrated by millions of Americans each and every day, it is a 100% safe and effective product."

The 10-ounce vented cans have been out of production since 2014 and all vented products have been out of production since earlier this year, but Smith said Conagra should still issue a recall.

"It would be great if Conagra would step up to the plate and take these cans off the shelves," he said.

LINK: Complaint: Andrea Bearden and Brandon Banks

He also said to check the bottom of the can, the ones in the lawsuits have four U-shaped tabs that are visible.

Conagra also reminds consumers that its packaging alerts consumers the sprays "should not be left on a stove or near a heat source, should not be sprayed near an open flame, and should not be stored over 120-degrees farenheit."

The CPSC tells Action News they are looking into the matter.

Full Statement from Conagra:

Please know the safety of our products and our consumers is always our top priority. When PAM is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100-percent safe and effective product.

PAM Cooking Sprays is used safely and properly by millions of people every day and several times a day. The product has been used for more than 50 years for the baking, grilling and cooking needs of consumers everywhere.

All PAM Cooking Sprays include clear instructions on both the front and back of the packaging alerting consumers that the product should be used responsibly as it is flammable, and that it should not be left on a stove or near a heat source, should not be sprayed near an open flame, and should not be stored above 120F. Even if a consumer is concerned, the vented can design, that is in question, was used in market on a limited number of cans over the last several years, and has not been used in the vast majority of the product sold.

We redesign packaging in the ordinary course of business, and just as we introduced the vented can years ago, we removed it from active production, earlier this year, as we sought to standardize our cans across the entire aerosol cooking spray product line.

We fully stand by this product. To reiterate, the vented can design is no longer in production. And, when PAM is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100-percent safe and effective product.
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