Getting a Recovery for Burns and Injuries from a Pesticide Can Explosion; New York Moving to Limit Use of Bug Bombs and Foggers


New York is moving to limit the public’s use of insect bombs and foggers.  See The New York Times article here.

A “bug bomb” is an insecticide in an aerosol spray can which is intended to fill either a room or a home or business.  The spray nozzle is locked in position so that the can empties and fills the room with the pesticide.  Bug bombs, also known as total release foggers, can be bought by the public for home use.  The State is looking to remove bug bombs from the public’s use so that they would be available only to professional exterminators.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control from 2001 to 2006 found 123 cases of injury in New York State including 58 cases in New York City alone.  The CDC also said that its injury and illness figures were most likely underestimated.  Injuries included respiratory distress and burns including death.  The State Department of Environmental Conservation states that foggers caused 4 to 8 serious explosions.

We have handled some significant injury cases involving insect bombs.  From our own experience we know that bug bombs are dangerous.

I.  The Case of La Bomba

Our client, Wilma, was injured by a bug bomb ironically called La Bomba.  It was purchased at a local grocery store.

Wilma set-out to use the bomb in her kitchen since she had a cockroach problem.  She emptied the cupboards and turned-off the pilot light of the stove.  She activated the spray in the lock position so that it would empty its contents into the air.  Wilma heard a strange hissing sound, and she returned to the kitchen.  There was an explosion, and Wilma sustained second and third degree burns requiring skin grafts.  The client’s legs were scarred, and she also had post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression. 

We showed with an insecticide expert that La Bomba was unduly flammable.  A flammable propellant was used in the spray can rather than a less dangerous, non-flammable one.  We obtained a favorable settlement during trial.

II.  The Case of the S.C. Johnson Raid Fogger

  In this case, the client, Jean, bought a Raid fogger made by the S.C. Johnson Company.  Like the prior case Jean cleared the kitchen and made sure that the stove and pilot light were extinguished.  Jean was in the next room when there was an explosion in the kitchen.  It was so strong that it knocked down the kitchen wall.  Jean sustained third degree burns on her arm with permanent scarring.  Her grandson also sustained second degree burns and some other injuries from the explosion.

Again, as in the La Bomba case, we are able to have a chemical expert show that the fogger was very flammable.  Again, a non-flammable water based propellant could have been used so that the fogger would not have been explosive.  We were able to obtain an excellent settlement before trial.

Conclusion

We applaud New York’s efforts to remove bug bombs from the public’s use.  We have seen first hand that foggers can be very dangerous.

If you have been injured by an insect bomb, fogger, or spray, please feel free to call me for a free consultation at 800-581-1434.

Mark E. Seitelman, 10/21/08, www.seitelman.com.

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