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Dangers of Aerosol in Vehicles

Why Aerosol Cans Shouldn't Be Left in Your Car
by Randy Devaul

Hair spray, lubricants, flat tire repair, window cleaners, and other aerosols are often kept in vehicles year round. Some are kept in car trunks or in metal tool boxes in the back of vans and trucks.

These pressurized containers are often temperature sensitive and classified as either flammable or combustible. Yet they are so commonly used, we forget the hazards that are associated with them.

For example, most aerosols state on the label of the container to not store them in temperatures greater than 120 degrees F. During summer months in most places around the United States, outside air temperatures will exceed 90 degrees F while the temperatures inside a vehicle or a toolbox on a vehicle can exceed 130 degrees F. Without additional ventilation or temperature relief, these containers can become explosive.

Car Damages Due to Aerosol Left in Vehicle

For example, these photographs show damage to a car's rear window after an aerosol can of deodorant exploded in a parked vehicle. The outside temperature was about 100 degrees F and the can was in the back window in direct sunlight. Had anyone been in the vehicle at the time of the incident, personal injury from flying glass could have been serious.

Aerosol Car Damages

Think what could happen if your child's carseat was located next to this can. When aerosol cans become over-pressurized, they can release the excess pressure through the nozzle and become uncontrolled flying missiles. Cans have actually penetrated and gone through seat cushions!

Don't store aerosol cans in places where there is no ventilation or where the temperatures cannot be controlled. You or your child can be seriously injured or killed if riding in close proximity to these materials when they blow. Look inside and in the back of your vehicle and remove these hazards by storing aerosols in proper locations. It could save your life!

Randy DeVaul is a safety professional, freelance writer, and author. Contact with comments at randyd@richmond.com.

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