What's the Problem?
Electric pressure cookers have recently become popular across the U.S., thanks to increases in mass marketing and plentiful shelf space in big box stores. However, many defective pressure cooker recalls have been initiated over safety concerns.
If popular pressure cookers have defective components, explosions can occur, spraying hot food, hot pinto beans, and liquids on users and anyone else nearby. Power pressure cooker explosions can cause third-degree burns and other catastrophic injuries resulting from flying shrapnel.
Pressure cookers work by using pressurized heat and steam, which causes foods to cook faster than traditional cooking methods. Most of the appliances feature a heating unit, an inner pot, and a locking lid with a pressure valve. When cooking, the power pressure cooker's lid is locked in place and as the inner pot is heated, pressure inside the cooker increases.
The locked lid should be designed to stay in place and not be able to be released until all the pressure has been vented. When the cooking process is complete, the pressure release valve should allow steam to escape, at which point the lid can be released.
Related Article: Why Do Pressure Cookers Explode?
Mantra Pressure Cookers Recalled Over Burn Hazard
in December 2007, Manttra Inc. recalled nearly 40,000 Manttra brand pressure cookers  after the company received multiple reports of hot soup spilling out of the pressure cookers, resulting in catastrophic injuries.
"If the pressure cookers are not closed properly, the lid can separate and allow hot contents to spill out. This poses a risk of substantial burn injuries to consumers," CPSC said.
The recall affected Manttra Smart Series five-piece stainless steel multi cooker sets. The set included a pressure lid, glass lid, steamer basket, wire trivet, and stock/pressure pot. Model/code number 38270 is stamped on the base of the 8-quart stainless steel pressure cooker.
Exploding Pressure Cooker Injuries
Lawsuits have been filed against the makers of pressure cookers sold since about 2010, which have been linked to reports of:
- Serious burns
- Hot steam burns
- Second-degree burns
- Third-degree burns
- Eye injuries and blindness
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Permanent scarring
- Kitchen and/or property damage
- And more
Defective Pressure Cooker Lids and Valves
In many instances in which recalled pressure cookers exploded or otherwise malfunctioned, causing catastrophic injuries, there is a safety flaw or defect in either the locking lid or the pressure release valve. This causes the pressure cooker to explode, breaking or freeing the lid, and spraying boiling food and liquid on users and others nearby.
Pressure release valves on a pressure cooker have also malfunctioned in many cases, where the boiling point valve fails to release enough steam to avoid excessive pressure buildup when the user removes the lid. Injuries from defective pressure cooker pressure relief valves have been reported to include burns on the face, scalp, neck, back, arms, hands, and torso.
Other Common Causes of Pressure Cooker Explosions
Pressure cookers are intended to safely contain the pressure that builds up inside it during cooking, then safely vent the steam when the cooking process is done. As long as there is steam built up in the cooker, the lid should not be able to be opened. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many defective pressure cookers.
Explosions may occur if any of the following conditions exist:
- Defective seals: If the seal isn’t designed or installed correctly, it can cause a leak that leads to a pressure cooker explosion.
- Defective gaskets: A faulty gasket that can be opened during high pressure can cause an explosion.
- Inadequate venting: If the vent doesn’t release steam pressure at the appropriate time, the pressure cooker explodes.
- Faulty lid lock: If the lid lock doesn't work correctly, the lid may open when the cooker is still under pressure.
- Automatic shut-off malfunctions: If the automatic shut-off is defective, the cooker has the potential to overheat with boiling liquid and explode.
Most pressure cooker manufacturers advertise the safety mechanisms they have on their pressure cookers; however, if those mechanisms fail to work as designed, consumers may suffer serious injuries.
Do You Qualify For a Pressure Cooker Burn Injury Lawsuit?
In hundreds of reports, home cooks have described troubling incidents in which the safety mechanisms built into pressure cookers appear to fail, leading to serious injuries. Many consumers have sustained severe burn injuries, requiring hospitalization, costly medical treatment, and lost time at work.
Attorneys say that hundreds of other people injured by pressure cookers exploding may also be entitled to pursue justice. Injured consumers are now filing product liability lawsuits, claiming that some pressure cooker companies are peddling unsafe products to unsuspecting home cooks.
See all related product liability lawsuits our lawyers have taken on.
How You Can Avoid a Pressure Cooker Injury
The only way to completely ensure your safety is to avoid using pressure cookers in the first place. However, if you decide to cook with one of the appliances, keep the following tips in mind to reduce your risk of injury:
- Check to see if your pressure cooker has been recalled or if any lawsuits have been filed over it - Research the specific model, name, and brand of the cooker to find out if it’s been recalled, is the subject of a lawsuit, or has been linked to any severe burn injuries. If so, stop using it immediately and return it to the point of purchase.
- Look for damages and defects on your pressure cooker -Most pressure cookers are designed with an array of safety features, but these mechanisms are worthless if they are damaged or defective. Check your cooker’s valves, sensors, latches, and seals before using the appliance.
- Clean your pressure cooker—Many pressure cooker explosions are caused by blocked valves or an accumulation of food. Keeping your pressure cooker clean will reduce the risk of an explosion and severe injuries.
- Vent and open your pressure cooker carefully—Two of the most dangerous steps while using a pressure cooker involve venting steam and opening the device. Follow the instructions carefully when performing these steps.
- Never add oils when using a pressure cooker—Cooking oils can significantly increase the temperature inside pressure cookers, causing safety features to melt. This can also lead to fires.
- Keep children and pets away from your pressure cooker—Pressure cookers can be extremely dangerous and should always be out of reach by kids. Children may open them while they’re still in use, vent them improperly, or even pull them off of countertops, causing them to explode.
- Don’t buy a secondhand pressure cooker—Modern pressure cookers are considered safer than older models because of their safety features; however, those features are less effective with wear and tear. Never buy a used pressure cooker from a third party.
Get a Free Manttra Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Product Liability Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of jury trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Manttra Pressure Cooker Litigations. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new severe injury cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Mantra Pressure Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was severely burned after a pressure cooker exploded, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a pressure cooker settlement for medical expenses by filing a Manttra pressure cooker lawsuit and we can help.