In both of the deaths investigated by CPSC, the brass valve unscrewed from the canister, turning the pressurized canister into a deadly projectile. In June 2003, a 15-year-old boy died after being struck in the head by a paintball CO2 canister as he was removing the canister from the gun. In February 2004, a female bystander was killed by a CO2 canister that was expelled as someone else was removing the canister from a paintball gun. While these investigations are not complete, CPSC is issuing this new safety warning to help people avoid the hazard.
"We are very concerned about the recent deaths associated with paintball gun canisters," said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton. "We are actively investigating these cases. Even though our investigation is not complete, we believe it is urgent to provide this new safety message about the valve detaching from the canister while unscrewing it from the paintball gun."
CPSC also recommends that people make sure that any modifications to the paintball gun or the CO2 canister are done properly. For example, installing anti-siphon tubes involves removing and re-installing the canister valve. It is critical that the valve be re-installed with the appropriate adhesive and the proper torque.
[Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission]