Those red plastic gasoline cans sold on the shelves of many retailers including Wal-Mart have a dark side. At least 80 lawsuits alleging design defects have led to a number of deaths, explosions and disfigurements, have driven the manufacturer, Blitz USA into bankruptcy. Wal-Mart has sold millions of the cans. Its contribution is part of a proposed $161 million settlement. Wal-Mart has been named as a defendant in 24 of the suits. Victims’ attorneys had argued that Wal-Mart had known about the fires and explosions since 2005 and did not take steps to have the manufacturer improve safety features. The Consumer Product Safety Commission analyzed available incident and injury databases and counted reports of at least 11 deaths and 1,200 emergency room visits that involved gas can explosions during the pouring of gasoline since 1998.

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