Pressure cookers are vulnerable to exploding while in use and spilling their hot contents everywhere.
Pressure cookers are popular kitchen devices that are advertised as a faster and more compact method of cooking than using a stove or oven. Though they have existed for decades, they are enjoying a recent surge in popularity.
The ease of pressure cooking doesn’t come without its downsides. The devices are especially vulnerable to exploding and spilling their hot contents everywhere. If a home cook happens to be near their pressure cooker when this happens, they are usually on their way to the hospital to be treated for severe burns.
Tristar’s Power Pressure Cooker XL is especially hazardous, causing numerous hospitalizations for second and third-degree burns. ClassAction.com attorneys have filed two lawsuits against Tristar.
Pressure Cookers Were Exploding as Far Back as the 1950’s
Pressure cooking is more than three centuries old. French physicist Denis Papin invented an early pressure cooking device in 1679.
The pressure cooker that we are familiar with today was introduced to the general public at the 1939 World’s Fair. The device was a hot commodity in the 1940’s and 50’s—at one time it ranked among the most profitable kitchen devices. However, its popularity dipped in the late 1950s when cheap and unsafe models were sold, and the device’s risk of exploding became well-known.
In the last few years, however, there has been a resurgence in the cooking method’s popularity. Enthusiasts argue that pressure cookers (especially electronic ones) are safer than previous generations’ because of new safety features like automatic shut-offs, locking systems, and pressure-release valves that their predecessors lacked.
However, even when these features are employed and the devices are used properly, pressure cookers still spew hot food. In the case of Tristar’s Power Pressure Cooker XL, customers have complained to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that the airtight seal can unlock on its own and the pressure-release valve can fail (forcing the user to remove the lid with a high amount of pressure still inside).
Pressure Cookers Were Used in Boston and NYC Bombings
Pressure cookers use steam inside a sealed container to increase cooking times. A rubber gasket helps to create an airtight seal on the lid that prevents the steam from the pressure cooker’s boiling water to escape. In this manner, the temperature inside can reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Typical modern pressure cookers have pressure that reaches 15 pounds per square inch. According to Popular Mechanics, this is enough pressure to damage human lungs. If defective, this rubber seal can cause the lid to blow off prematurely while the temperature and pressure is at its most dangerous.
Pressure cookers are “easy to get, easy to customize, and dangerous to begin with.”
Pressure cookers have recently been making headlines for even worse reasons than kitchen catastrophes. The devices were behind the Boston Marathon Bombings and NYC Chelsea Bombing. Instead of food, the pressure cookers were filled with shrapnel and explosives to make the already dangerous product even more deadly. When ignited, the pressure that builds up in a pressure cooker makes an explosion three times more lethal.
Pressure cookers are used for bombs, the Popular Mechanics article explains, because they are “easy to get, easy to customize, and dangerous to begin with.”
Toddler Loses Leg From a Pressure Cooker Explosion
Pressure cookers are not just dangerous because they can explode; they are also dangerous because of what those explosions entail. An explosion involving scalding hot soup or broth is a hospitalization waiting to happen.
Burns are the most common injuries associated with pressure cookers. Depending on the temperature of the food and the distance a person is from the pressure cooker, these burns range in severity. Some particularly bad incidents have resulted in third-degree burns that leave permanent scarring and require physical therapy and rehabilitation.
A particularly severe incident occurred in Florida in September 2015. A pressure cooker containing chicken soup exploded next to a two-year-old bathing in a kitchen sink. She suffered second and third-degree burns on 60% of her body that eventually caused complications requiring her fingers, right leg, and left toes to be amputated.
Tristar’s Pressure Cooker Sends Floridians to the Hospital
Tristar’s Power Pressure Cooker XL is one of the more dangerous pressure cookers on the market right now. Featured in TV infomercials, the product is also sold in major retailers like Wal-Mart and Bed Bath & Beyond.
In a dedicated " target="_blank">safety video, Tristar advertises that they “designed the product for total safety.” They point to safety features like the lid safety lock that prevents the lid from opening until the pressure is released. Despite these features, the product is anything but safe.
In September 2015, Patricia and Luke Mancuso used their Power Pressure Cooker XL for the first time to make spaghetti sauce. After checking on the sauce, both of them were soon covered in it, resulting in second and third-degree burns on their arms, thighs, feet, and hands.
Also among those injured by Tristar’s defective product was Dustin Bagwell of Titusville, Florida. On March 21, 2016, Mr. Bagwell used his hardly four-month old Power Pressure Cooker XL to defrost a chicken. He used the device in the proper manner: After it finished and went into standby warmer-mode, Mr. Bagwell selected cancel and released extra pressure. However, upon turning the lid slowly, the device exploded without warning.
The explosion caused its hot contents to fly onto Mr. Bagwell, resulting in first and second-degree burns on his abdomen and upper thighs. He was treated for nearly a month in the Parish Medical Wound Center for treatment and debridement (a process that removes dead tissue).
ClassAction.com attorneys filed lawsuits against Tristar and the retailers that sold them (Bed Bath & Beyond and Wal-Mart).
Hold Pressure Cooker Manufacturers Accountable
If you were burned by a pressure cooker explosion, you may be entitled to compensation. ClassAction.com’s motto is to always fight “for the people, not the powerful,” and we’ve recovered more than $2 billion in doing so. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal review.