Madigan wants ban on fuel gel products

Bryan Cohen Aug. 10, 2011, 1:54pm


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday to immediately recall all fuel gel products in response to serious burn accidents.

Madigan said there have been alarming reports of consumers in Illinois and across the country who have suffered severe burns in accidents involving fuel gel. Madigan also called on the CPSC to immediately ban the sale of fuel gel products and urged consumers to cease using the dangerous items.

Fuel gel is poured into a fire pot or a similar vessel for use as outdoor light or a decorative flame. Madigan said reports have shown injuries resulted when fuel gel was spilled or was poured into a pot in an attempt to light or re-light the flame. This caused the product to explode into a fireball, reacting to a person's skin like napalm, making it nearly impossible to extinguish in traditional ways like dropping and rolling. The flaming gel ignites other materials and does not stop burning.

"Recalling these items one by one won't cut it," Madigan said. "In the midst of the summer season, many of these fuel gel products are already in people's homes and backyards. We need to work quickly to alert consumers about the extreme dangers they pose."

Earlier this summer, Madigan alerted consumers to the risk of severe and even life-threatening burns when using fuel gel products. The CPSC soon after recalled one fuel gel product made by Napa Home & Garden. While the company has since pulled its products from store shelves, fuel gel products by other manufacturers, including Windflame Inc., BirdBrain Inc. and Jason Metal Products Inc., continue to sell in stores throughout the country and online.

Madigan's office has received accounts of three fuel gel-related accidents in Illinois.

Madigan subpoenaed the Ypsilanti, Mich.-based BirdBrain Inc. on Wednesday, asking for any incidents reported to the company and for its Illinois sales and distribution information.

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