Lawsuit Claims 'Defective' PAM Cans Are Exploding—But Company Says They're '100-Percent Safe'
Plaintiffs allege that the explosions resulted in serious injuries, including burns, scarring, disfigurement, and blindness.
Six new lawsuits brought against Conagra, the parent company of PAM, are alleging that the cooking spray cans have exploded, resulting in multiple injuries.
In the lawsuits filed on Tuesday and obtained by PEOPLE, eight plaintiffs describe instances where they were using a PAM can or similar cooking spray made by Conagra to cook at home or in a restaurant kitchen when the cans exploded into a fire. The incidents, which took place between July 15, 2017 and April 5, 2019, all allegedly involved a version of the can with “u-shaped vents” on the bottom that is no longer in production but still available in some stores.
Plaintiff Y’Tesia Taylor alleges that she used PAM to spray a baking dish and then placed the canister on a cart adjacent to her stove. When she went to put the dish in the oven and close the door, the can “suddenly and without warning” burst into flames. She allegedly suffered burns, scarring, disfigurement, blindness in her right eye, and lung damage. “I was screaming, like I’m dying,” Taylor told TODAY.
Two other alleged victims, married couple Paytene Pivonka and Jacob Dalton, describe a similar experience when they were using their gas stove at home. “The can was located on a shelf several feet above the stove when it began spewing gas, propelling the can off of the shelf and onto the stove,” according to a press release from the law firm representing the plaintiffs, Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder. “It then exploded, creating an inescapable fireball that set the couple on fire.”
NBC News also obtained video of plaintiff Reveriano Duran working in a restaurant kitchen when a can placed in front of a grill allegedly exploded and ignited a fire.
Lawyer J. Craig Smith said in the press release that Conagra “apparently refuses to institute a nationwide recall to ensure that the defective cans sitting on store shelves right now are removed before someone else suffers permanent injury from an explosion.”
A representative for Conagra Dan Hare told PEOPLE in a statement that “the safety of our products and our consumers is always our top priority.” Hare clarified that though the vented design in question is no longer being made, it was removed from production because the company standardized all its cans: “We fully stand by this product.”
“When PAM is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100-percent safe and effective product,” he added.
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Each PAM can, including the u-shaped vent design, comes with a caution label alerting customers of its flammable nature. The cans, which contain a propellant, also have a warning that advises against spraying on heated surfaces, or near or open flame, and states that they should not be stored on or near the stove. They also recommend never storing the product above 120°F.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuits are seeking a “a sum in excess of jurisdictional limits,” in addition to legal fees.