Watch CBS News

Seen At 11: Expert Explains Coffee Tables, TVs, Shower Doors Shattering Without Warning

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Imagine sitting in your living room and suddenly, your glass coffee table explodes; or while taking a bath, the shower door shatters.

As CBS2's Maurice DuBois reported, many cases of "exploding glass" are happening to hundreds of people without warning.

For a growing number of homeowners, like Denise Young, the sound of glass shattering is becoming all too common.

"I hear this screaming 'Mom, come here. There's glass everywhere,'" she said.

The Youngs' glass television stand shattered into hundreds of tiny pieces for no apparent reason.

But this was no freak accident.

"It was a mess. When it exploded, it went in every single direction," Young said.

Hundreds of similar complaints from across the country have been filed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding a variety of products from tables and doors to TV screens and appliances, all made with tempered glass.

"Suddenly, that glass will break all by itself with nobody there," glass expert Mark Meshulam said. "Spontaneous tempered glass breakage is really a wild phenomenon."

Meshulam says tempered glass is used in a wide variety of household items because it is stronger and safer than plate glass.

"When it breaks, it breaks in very small pieces and so you might get cut but it will not be deep serious laceration," he said.

Microscopic imperfections can occur during the manufacturing process and experts say these imperfections can grow and migrate, weakening the glass until it suddenly shatters without warning.

"It is a little scary and it's something that I think the average consumer is unaware of," attorney Ken Kerner said.

Kerner, who specializes in product liability, says because this spontaneous breakage is happening more and more and in the process, scaring consumers, these products should come with a warning label.

"I think that every consumer has a right to know that there is a risk that the glass can break," Kerner said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled a number of tempered glass products from shower doors to toaster ovens, and although the number of serious injuries is low, people and pets have been hurt by flying glass.

You Might Also Be Interested In:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.