Pressure cookers have become popular kitchen appliances over the past few years, especially electrical counter models. Most of the time, these cookers are safe and designed to cook contents at high temperatures under very high pressure, so there are risks involved when there is a malfunction.
When there is a manufacturing defect pressure cookers can explode, sending hot steam and super-heated liquid contents out at high speeds. Anybody in the vicinity of the pressure cooker is at risk. Burn injuries are severe since the hot liquid is soaked by clothing which serves as a poultice or bandage holding in the scalding heat and making for worse burns than hot liquid alone.
While pressure cookers must have working pressure relief valves and other safety mechanisms, we’re still seeing explosions and people getting burned and scarred.
Instant Pots, Tristar Power Pressure Cookers, Crock-Pot and Gourmia among other brands have malfunctioned, primarily counter-top electric pots. We currently have two clients injured by electric pots.
One of the most common reasons why pressure cookers explode is because a vent is clogged. If the vent is clogged, it can fail to release sufficient pressure at the end of cooking or the pressure can force a leak. In other cases, when the lid is opened prematurely, before the pressure there have been released, explosive venting can occur.
With temperatures of 250 degree, defective pressure cookers can cause burns, scalds, scarring, bleeding, blindness, disfigurement, amputation and death.
Second-degree burns are common. These are partial thickness burns, which affect the epidermis and the dermis, the lower layer of skin, with redness, swelling, and blistering.
Third-degree burns are full thickness burns that go through the dermis and affect deeper tissues, requiring skin graft surgeries and leave patients permanently scarred and dealing with long-term pain issues from both the scar and donor sites where replacement skin is harvested. Burn sites and donor sites are equally painful. On a scale of 1 to 10, in our experience the pain is an 11.
As an experienced user of pressure cookers, I recommend a stove top pressure cooker with a lightly lubricated seal that closes and secures the lid. Once the cooking time under steam pressure has been completed, I douse the pot in a sink under cold water to reduce and dissipate internal pressure so it is safe to open.
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