Glass Bakeware Poses Shattering Hazard

<"">Glass baking pans, a staple in many kitchens, pose potential hazards, said ABC News. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 12,000 consumers were injured over 10 years by glass bakeware.

Injuries involved dropping the glassware; however, figures also included the glassware breaking—shattering—spontaneously, said ABC News, which can cause hot food and glass to become dangerous projectiles.

When Consumer Reports began receiving complaints about glass bakeware shattering, it began a yearlong investigation, it said. As part of its probe, Consumer Reports said it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the CPSC to obtain copies of reports filed with that agency.

Consumer Reports reviewed 163 incidents—most of which (152) from CPSC reports—in which consumers reported that their glass bakeware spontaneously shattered. Some incidents occurred in the oven, while food was cooling on counters; even when consumers were holding the glassware, said Consumer Affairs. In some cases, hot glass shards shot from the explosion, injuring consumers, noted Consumer Affairs.

Consumer Affairs pointed out that only a few incidents involved what it described as “clear violations of the bakeware’s instructions,” noting that despite that millions of these products are used without incident yearly, there were enough accidents to prompt concern on the part the advocacy publication. ABC News reported that Consumer Reports is urging the government to look into the problem.

The Consumer Reports investigation involved testing in its and outside labs and with samples of European-made Pyrex and Arcuisine Elegance glass bakeware made of borosilicate. Of note, pointed out Consumer Reports, when Pyrex was first marketed in 1915, it was manufactured with a borosilicate, a heat-resistant glass; today, both Pyrex and Anchor Hocking—key makers of glass bakeware in the U.S.—manufacture their products with soda lime glass.

Soda lime glass, said Consumer Reports, is cheaper to manufacture and, according to manufacturers, when heat-strengthened, is much more impact breakage resistant. ABC News reported that the bakeware makers said that they made the switch because soda lime glass manufacture is more environmentally friendly. Don Mays of Consumer Reports told “Good Morning America” that “soda lime … is a less expensive glass and it’s more prone to this sudden fracturing that you’re seeing,” quoted ABC News.

The majority of the reports were obtained due to Consumer Reports’ FOIA requests for complaints filed by consumers about the bakeware. Consumer Reports said it took almost six months for Consumer Reports to receive incident reports about Anchor Hocking bakeware and about eight months to receive complaints concerning Pyrex.

According to Consumer Reports, the delay was caused, in part, by legal restraints, noting that the agency was not permitted to relinquish copies of the complaints until the manufacturers were given some time to comment on the those complaints. Company disputes remain confidential until the CPSC reviews the claim and makes a determination of confidentiality, causing more delays.

Effective March 2011, safety incident reports about all CPSC-regulated products are to become viewable by the public online in a new CPSC database at The database will enable consumers to report safety hazards and research the safety records of products.

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