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Glass cookware under scrutiny with increasing consumer injury

During the holiday season, many households used glass cookware among their cooking products and serving dishes. The number of complaints the Consumer Product Safety Commission received in 1999 on spontaneously breaking glassware was two; that number had soared to 144 in 2011. The nation's two top brands for kitchen glassware, Pyrex and Anchor Hocking, have been the subject of numerous experiments and studies in order to see if consumer complaints about the glass pans being defective products are valid.

The results, published in a ceramic trade journal, have led to a lawsuit between the major glassware companies and those involved in the experiments. Glass companies have stated that the tests were flawed and that consumers are most likely not following safety precautions when their glassware shatters. Those who have tested the products concluded that the glass used in today's pans is more prone to shattering under sudden temperature changes than sturdier glass used decades ago.

Although there have been incidents of consumer injury resulting from shattering glassware, the manufacturing companies say their products are safe when their instructions are followed properly. It is sometimes true that the difference between a safe product and a dangerous product is in following all safety precautions carefully.

Some of the experts involved in the testing on glassware agree that further research is necessary to determine whether the glass used in today's Pyrex and Anchor Hocking glassware is more liable to shatter than their older versions. In the meantime, a retired ceramic engineer says that he treats his glass cookware with extreme caution and avoids any sudden extremes in temperature change -- which is one of the safety precautions listed in both glassware companies' usage instructions. It is unclear if such a warning is sufficient enough to avoid a liability claim, however.

Source: Today.com, "Kitchen calamity: Reports of shattering cookware on the rise," JoNel Aleccia, Dec. 21, 2012

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