Some Glass Bakeware Can Spontaneously Shatter

Before you use your glass bakeware this holiday season, read this.

Dec. 7, 2010 — -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that nearly 12,000 people were injured by glass bakeware over a decade-long period.

That figure includes injuries from dropping glass and breaking it -- but also from bakeware that shattered on its own.

The glass baking pans are a staple in most kitchens. But some consumers complain that they can spontaneously shatter, sending hot food and glass shards flying.

Consumer Reports spent a year studying the issue and was so concerned that it is now asking the government to investigate.

Bakeware Can Shatter Unexpectedly

The complaints started on the Internet.

"The Pyrex bowl … exploded," one person said in a YouTube video.

"It wasn't hot, it wasn't cold, nothing. It was just sitting here and all of a sudden it exploded into a million kajillion pieces," another person said.

Consumer Reports says its tests found that hot glass bakeware can in deed shatter unexpectedly.

"It would break in a forceful way that would actually shoot shards across the room," Don Mays of Consumer Reports told "Good Morning America."

Both major glass bakeware manufacturers -- Pyrex and Anchor Hocking -- say decades ago they switched to a different type of glass that's more environmentally friendly to produce.

"They're using something called soda lime which is a less expensive glass and it's more prone to this sudden fracturing that you're seeing," Mays said.

To compare the two, researchers put European bakeware, which is still make of the old type of glass, in a 400-degree oven, then set it on a damp counter to cool. Nothing happened. But when they did the same experiment with U.S. bakeware made from the new type of glass, the glass shattered every time.

Both companies told "GMA" that Americans use glass bakeware billions of times a year and report problems only a minute fraction – less than one percent – of the time. World Kitchen, maker of Pyrex, said, "Consumers are far more likely to be injured by dropped glass bakeware ..." and that the newer glass is "more resistant to impact breakage." Anchor Hocking said "the vast majority of injuries result from failure to use the product according to instructions."

Web-Extra Bakeware Safety Tips

Here is a summary of safety tips for using modern glassware compiled by Consumer Reports from the safety warnings of both Pyrex and Anchor Hocking, the two main manufacturers that produce glass bakeware in the United States.

Always place hot glassware on a dry, cloth potholder or towel.

Never use glassware for stovetop cooking or under a broiler.

Always allow the oven to fully preheat before placing the glassware in the oven.

Always cover the bottom of the dish with liquid before cooking meat or vegetables.

Don't add liquid to hot glassware.

If you're using the dish in a microwave, do not use browning elements, and avoid overheating oil and butter.

Do not take dishes directly from the freezer to the oven or vice versa.

Never place hot glassware directly on a countertop (or smoothtop), metal surface, on a damp towel, in the sink, or on a cold or wet surface.

Inspect your dishes for chips, cracks, and scratches. Discard dishes with such damage.

To avoid risks associated with glass dishes, consider using metal bakeware for conventional and convection ovens.

To read a statement from World Kitchen, maker of Pyrex, click HERE.

To read a statement from Anchor Hocking, click HERE.

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