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New Warning About Problems With Glass Bakeware

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Consumer Reports has issued a serious warning about a problem with some of the top brands of glass bakeware.

Some of the glass dishes shattered during testing, a problem CBS 2's Pam Zekman first reported nearly three years ago. If it's not used properly, glass bakeware can suddenly shatter and possibly send glass flying through your kitchen.

In its upcoming January issue, Consumer Reports discloses what happened when Pyrex and Anchor Hocking bakeware was tested at 450 degrees, then placed on a wet countertop, contrary to instructions.

"We're surprsied by the forcefulness in which this glass broke. It didn't just fall apart; essentially, it exploded," said Don Mays, Senior Director of Product Safety Planning and Technical Administration for Consumer Reports.

It appears the government now might investigate some popular brands of glass cookware.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Jan Shakowsky asked the Consumer Products Safety Commission to launch an investigation in 2008 after a series of reports by CBS 2 in early 2008.

Now, Consumer Reports has asked the CPSC to conduct its own study of the safety of glass bakeware and the adequacy of instructions that come with it.

Based on the most recent available data, the CPSC has estimated that over a nine-year period, 11,882 people went to emergency rooms for injuries from glass bakeware that was dropped, broken or shattered during use.

That's what happened to Terry Rhoads, who three years ago told CBS 2 how a hot dish with melted butter exploded after he placed it on a countertop.

"It sounded like a shotgun went off, a loud explosion. And I looked down and then that's when I saw about an inch-and-a-half long piece of glass projecting out of the top of my foot," Rhoads said.

And in 2008, CBS 2 spoke to Claire Gunzelman, who needed surgery to repair a damaged tendon. She was cut while rinsing out a dish that had cooled off.

"It literally shattered and exploded in my hand," Gunzelman said.

Now Consumer Reports is telling the story of Patricia Sczenia, of Lansing, and her granddaughter. They were slightly injured when she opened an oven to check on a ham baking in what she believes was a Pyrex dish

"It exploded into like a million pieces all over the kitchen floor," she said.

Both Pyrex and Anchor Hocking bakeware are made of tempered soda lime glass, not the original boriscillicate glass developed by Corning and still used in Europe.

"We believe that the glass bakeware that's on the market today is different from what we used may years ago. And it probably has more propensity to shatter unexpectedly," Mays said.

Both companies said their products are safe and the incidents happen when consumers don't follow instructions on the packaging.

Those instructions include warnings to never add liquid to a hot dish, handle it with a wet cloth, or place it on a cool or wet surface. And you should always let it cool off on a dry dish towel, potholder or a cooling rack.

The companies also have pointed out that the number of complaints and reported injuries are a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions of pieces of glass bakeware in use.

If you have had a problem with glass bakeware, you should contact the manufacturer, as well as the CPSC by calling (800) 638-2772 or sending an email to

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