Woman injured when shaving foam erupts

Robin Levinson
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She worries she has permanent eye damage

Juanita Somerton holds the can of Balea shaving foam that exploded, sending the foam into her eyes and she says, according to her doctor, caused chemical burns. — Telegram photo

Juanita Somerton was babysitting her nieces when she decided to take a shower and try out the new brand of shaving cream she had bought.

But after popping the top of Balea shaving cream and pressing down on the tab, the entire contents of the can burst out.

Foam was everywhere: in her hair, in the tub, and worst of all, in her eyes.

“Everything got sucked right up the can, it blew right up through the hole and foamed right into my eyes,” Somerton said.

“I couldn’t see, everything was all burning and blurry.”

Her nieces helped her clean up, but were horrified by what they saw.

“My eyes were filled with blood,” Somerton said.

“It was horrifying. It was just the most horrible thing ever.”

Somerton called emergency services, and they told her to go to the hospital if her eyesight got worse.

That happened Thursday, July 19, but not wanting to leave her nieces, Somerton waited until Friday to see a doctor.

Her eyes were feeling painfully dry and she still had impaired vision.

The doctor told her she had chemical burns on her eyes and that she might have corneal damage.

Somerton said, a week later, her eyesight is not back to normal.

She had laser eye surgery in December, and she’s worried that the 20/20 vision that she spent so much money on is ruined for good.

When she went to Shoppers Drug Mart to complain about the product, she was offered a refund of $2.99 for the shaving cream — if she returned the can.


Afraid to return can

Somerton said she’s afraid if she returns the can, she’ll lose any evidence that the can was faulty.

“If they have the can, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

She eventually talked to Shoppers’ head office. “They asked me what I wanted out of this,” Somerton said.

“First of all, I want everyone to be aware of the product.”

Shoppers was unable to provide comment before deadline. Attempts to reach Balea were unsuccessful.

If her vision is permanently damaged, Somerton said she may seek legal counsel.



Organizations: Shoppers Drug Mart

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Recent comments

  • J Mazerolle
    July 27, 2012 - 10:08

    Clearly there is something wrong with these cans, as this same thing happened to me about two weeks ago. I wasn't hurt but I had quite the mess to clean up in my bathroom!

  • Starr
    July 27, 2012 - 09:12

    Juanita - its not a SDM problem - contact the company that made the product.

  • Robert
    July 27, 2012 - 08:31

    Frank! That's not very good legal advise at all! Shoppers has much to do about the products they have on their shelves. A good solicitor would certainly include them in any statement of claim. And I'd say "make the call"; the sooner the better.

    • Charmaine
      July 27, 2012 - 10:01

      Frank, research the snail in the bottle case. This set precedent for manufacturers responsibility to consumers the end users of their products.

  • Charmaine
    July 27, 2012 - 08:23

    The manufacturer is liable to the end user of the product. Shopper's role should be in making the manufacturer aware of the end user's injury and open up that communication. I had a similar issue with a product that was placed in my microwave which caught fire and destroyed my microwave. My house could have burned down if I wasn't quick to respond. I took pictures of everything before returning the damaged product to the store. Eventually my microwave was replaced by the manufacturer with the assitance of the seller, that is all I wanted. You on the other hand have suffered an injury. I suggest documenting everything, sounds like you already are. Good luck!

  • Sean Together
    July 27, 2012 - 07:30

    I'm usually skeptical of those that threaten to sue a company, but I'd probably do the same thing in this case. It would be different now if I tossed the can into an oven or something, but if it busted on its own, she should be compensated. Today's lesson: You get what you pay for.

    • carogers
      July 27, 2012 - 08:24

      You get what you pay for....really how many cans of ladies shaving cream have you bought? What do you think they come in 20.00 cans? Would an over priced areosol can never be faulty. #1 shaving cream cost an average of $3.00-$4.00. The product is a chemical! Maybe you should be concerned about chemicals under pressure sitting on shelves in stores ready to pop. Ms Sommerton sue, it is the only way big corporations will remove dangerous products from store shelves. What you paid for the product is simple not a factor when the item caused damage to your eyes.

  • Don
    July 27, 2012 - 07:26

    Sue Shoppers, the distributor,for the product and the manufacturer.

    • frank
      July 27, 2012 - 07:55

      Shoppers has nothing to do with a faulty can. If she's going to sue, she should sue the manufacturer of the shaving cream. Not the place she bought it at.

    • Frank
      July 27, 2012 - 09:32

      Balea IS Shopper's Drug Mart - it's their brand (private label)