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TNT recall highlights potential product liability with fireworks

Posted in Products Liability on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

The week before the 4th of July generally yields excellent sales of certain items, such as hot dogs, watermelons, red, white and blue gelatin and fireworks, of course. Americans have been celebrating the anniversary of the country’s independence with colorful explosions for many years. Most of the big displays come from businesses or municipalities. While some people do shoot off bigger fireworks at home, the majority of home fireworks are smaller and safer varieties. Popular low-risk fireworks include sparklers, poppers, snakes and smoke bombs.

When it comes to devices that give off smoke or sparks or those that burn or explode, consumers do accept a moderate amount of risk. If you hold a sparkler in someone’s face, for example, you could badly burn that person. The sparkler company wouldn’t be responsible for your intentional misuse of an otherwise well-made product. For a few people in the days leading up to the 4th of July in 2017, even the proper use of certain low-risk fireworks lead to serious accidents, unexpected explosions and burns. These incidents were related to smoke bombs that should not have exploded, leading to a recall.

Pennsylvania not impacted but risk remains

Unfortunately for consumers in four states, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Vermont, more than 36,000 potentially defective fireworks products got shipped to their stores, including Walmart and Kroger. The nationally-known brand TNT issued a recall for Red, White & Blue Smoke fireworks carrying the UPC 027736036561. Although these fireworks are just supposed to give off copious amounts of colorful smoke, in at least three known cases, they exploded, causing injuries and burns. While Pennsylvania is not included in the recall list, this recall is a reminder that products can harm you.

People generally understand that fireworks are dangerous. Most adults treat these devices with respect and carefully monitor children who use them to ensure safety protocols get followed. This recall shows how even when people choose a safer option (smoke bombs are less of a burn risk than a Roman candle, after all) and follow the instructions, faulty products can still cause injuries. While the recall hopefully keeps anyone else from getting hurt by exploding smoke bombs, the potential for serious injury is still there.

Recalled products and defective products can cause catastrophic, even fatal injuries. Consumers may try to make smart choices but can still fall victim to poorly made or untested products.

When that happens, it may be necessary to hold the manufacturer legally and financially responsible. After all, consumers should have the peace of mind that comes from knowing products sold openly in stores are properly made and tested for safety. When products are poorly made or defective, consumers should explore all available options for compensation.