You would think, if something makes fire, it must be highly regulated.
But inexpensive cigarette lighters only have to meet voluntary minimum standards when it comes to the manufacturing and design.
Some of the foreign made lighters even miss those minimum standards. A Houston, Texas family believes they lost their loved one because those standards weren't met.
Ricky Clemmer says he got a call from his brother Bill. "He said I'm hurt, I need to go to the hospital."
When Ricky got to Bill, Ricky says Bill was black and burnt. "You didn't know how to touch him. His skin was just hanging on him."
Bill told his brother the fire that burned him said it all started with a lighter that blew up.
After Bill died, his brother and sister hired forensic engineers to figure out why the lighter blew up. The engineers created a video to show their findings.
According to them, the lighter had a defective seal. After it had been used, the defective seal allowed the butane to keep flowing. A small flame stayed lit, hidden by the wind guard. And when Bill put the lighter in his pocket, it exploded, giving him third degree burns.
Bill was using an MK lighter made in China.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that defective cigarette lighters caused nearly 1,000 injuries a year.
Federal figures show 75% of the lighters sold in the U.S. are foreign made. Fifty-eight percent are made in China and only 30% meet the government's voluntary, minimum safety standards.
"There's a big difference voluntary and mandatory requirements," says Rachel Weintraub of the Consumer Federation of America. She says despite the government's own evidence no changes have been made.
"If they were made mandatory they would save more lives."
The Clemmers sued the foreign based company. But the manufacturer never showed up in court. They have a default decision, but it brings them little comfort.
"This was a senseless death that shouldn't have happened," says Bill's sister Aletta.
KHOU-WFMY News 2