Thousands Injured By "Diabolical" Packaging

injury-oyster-packaging photo

photo by Miss_Rogue

Around six thousand people a year wind up in emergency rooms with lacerations and puncture wounds caused by clamshell/oyster packaging. Some injuries are caused by the jagged edges of half-opened, hard-plastic wrappers. Others occur when the a frustrated consumers use tools such as knives, scissors or wire cutters. These implements, often taken up in anger, have a tendency to glance off the nigh-impenetrable packaging and wound the hands that wield them. The clamshell packaging is favored by retailers and manufacturers. The clear plastic allows consumers to see the product they are purchasing. The tough exterior deters theft and protects the devices within from damage. Oyster packaging also instills the consumer with a subconscious feeling that their purchase is pristine, untouched by human hands. Ironically, the first human hands to touch the product out of the package are often injured.

"Diabolical" Packaging Practices
From American Medical News

"I've worked in the emergency department on Christmas day for six out of the last 10 years. We certainly see lacerations. That's the most common thing. But we also see punctures," said David Ross, an emergency physician at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs. "That clamshell packaging is absolutely diabolical."

Clamshell Packaging and the Environment
Clamshell packages are often made from hard-to-recycle polyvinyl chloride. But some companies, like Denver-based FormTight, use PET plastics.

From the

"PVC has been around forever. There's a huge glut of it," said Darren Kidd, founder and president of FormTight Inc. "The nice thing about PVC is that it's impact-resistant."

Kidd said difficulties with sealed clamshell packaging and the environmental concerns it raises are often discussed in the industry.

"The guys that make that type of packaging don't like that type of packaging either," Kidd said. "It's a problem getting into it. I have six kids, so I'm pretty good."

Wrap Rage
Another health concern caused by clamshell packaging is the dreaded "wrap rage." People get frustrated as they try to rescue their purchase from the Hans-Solo-frozen-in-carbonite-esque packaging, often leading to a sharp object used in a fit of anger and impatience. If the enraged package-opener manages to remove the durable covering unlacerated, they still may suffer from increased stress and raised blood pressure.

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