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Instant light charcoal
Yard & Garden
Grills & Accessories
Charcoal (917)
Walmart Stores Inc.    
Expert Grill
Wal Mart
On Saturday April 14th my son was grilling hot dogs using Expert Grill Instant Lighting Charcoal which we believe may have led to him having a seizure. He cooked with this product around 1-2 P.M. at his grandmother’s house across the street from mine. I returned home from work around 6 p.m. and as I walked to her house I noticed a strong odor that smelled like fireworks, particularly the black snake fireworks that came in a small tablet and when lit would grow into an ash snake. This odor was coming from the grill that was used 4 hours earlier. I asked my son, daughter and their mother if they noticed the strong smell and they agreed it didn’t smell like charcoal normally does. With the exception of my son everybody was inside while the charcoal was being lit but did notice the smell after the food was done and they came outside. A couple of people, including my daughter, stated that the food had an odd taste but didn’t think much more of it. A hot dog was prepared for me and later as I got it out of the fridge and re heated in the microwave I could smell the odd odor once again and after taking a bite I even tasted it on the food so I threw it away. I asked them what kind of charcoal was used and if they found anything odd about it when they opened the bag and they commented that the coals went up in flames extremely quick unlike other charcoal that takes a little time to light and a couple of minutes to be fully engulfed.
Early the next morning my son had a violent seizure that required a call to 911 with an ambulance transport to the hospital. He had a blood and urine test to rule out drugs plus two brain scans to look for physical problems. He was then transported to another hospital where he was given an MRI and EEG with these tests requiring him to stay in the hospital overnight. All of the tests came back negative and he was released the following day though per Virginia law he cannot drive for six months. The neurologist said though they ruled out drugs, brain tumors and any other physical issue but could have been an external source that triggered the seizure. After we returned home from the hospital I started thinking about what could have caused this and the first thing that came to mind was the charcoal. Since charcoal doesn’t seem to list the ingredients I found out the ingredient that causes the same unique smell from the coals he cooked with and the black snake fireworks, what I found was a chemical named Naphthalene which is known to cause seizures. My son was grilling on a small table top grille that was placed on the carport next to his chair. He was sitting next to it during the entire time the coals were burning in addition to being the one that cooked the food so he had maximum exposure to the fumes. I purchased an identical bag of this charcoal the day after returning from the hospital and what I found was the typical smell charcoal has in addition to it taking a bit of time to light unlike the bag he used. This appears to possibly be isolated to the first bag of charcoal. Though all of the coals were used there is enough small fragments left in the bottom of the bag that hopefully can be tested for Naphthalene or other dangerous chemicals that can cause seizures. Please advise me on how to get this tested and the direction I need to proceed in.
Injury→Injury, Hospital Admission
18 years
I have the bag with small fragments of charcoal left over in the bottom
Comment from Walmart Stores Inc. 7/27/2018
Please contact 1800-925-6278 and provide details about this incident. Be sure to include any additional identifying numbers from the product.
File NameDescription
IMG_0049.jpg charcoal bag front
IMG_0050.jpg charcoal bag back

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