Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The group that represents consumer red consumer gas can manufacturers is speaking out after we first showed you video of an experiment where when conditions are right, gas cans could explode when you use them.
The can in the test video did not have a small mesh screen called a flame arrestor. Some safety experts say a flame arrestor could prevent the explosions from happening.
"As we know it today, there's no way to safely and appropriately place it in portable fuel containers," said Amanda Emerson, spokeswoman for the Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association.
The group says they don't know of any device, including flame arrestors, that would be safe and effective to incorporate in the product design. The association also maintains their cans are the safest and only legal way for consumers to store and transport fuel.
"Flame arrestor technology as a concept has been proven to mitigate a flame," Emerson said. "But what we're talking about here is incorporation of a flame arrestor on a portable fuel container.So wether or not it's effective or not as a whole system is yet to be determined. It's why research is still underway."
After a News 19 On Your Side alert in November though, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a memo, "we're calling on the industry to regain the momentum that was lost in years past by designing their products to include this safety technology."
"It implies that there's some sort of flame arrestor technology that's ready to go, that's ready to be applied," Emerson said. "So, yes in that respect, that is a premature statement."
A number of lawsuits have been filed around the country alleging consumer gas cans exploded during use.
"The container that is supposedly safe is not. It's very unsafe," said Chad Funchess, an Orangeburg native who says his can blew up while he was filling up a chainsaw.
Funchess' case filed against manufacturer Blitz USA claims the lack of a flame arrestor made the can dangerous to users. The company denied all claims their product was unsafe.
Emerson said, Blitz USA eventually filed bankruptcy and were victims of lawsuit abuse.
"The manner in which these injuries are occurring are not a result of gas cans," Emerson said. "They are a result of gasoline which is inherently dangerous and individuals have predominately chosen to misuse that gasoline."
Right now, the CPSC and PFCMA both sit on the premier task force researching flame arrestor technology.
"We are still moving forward with research on how to safety and effectively incorporate flame arrestor technology," Emerson said.