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Should you throw away your Pyrex glass bakeware?

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When I was doing consumer research, I ran across an article on exploding Pyrex cookware.

Since I recently received a Pyrex casserole dish for a gift, I was concerned. I did more research.

I found two articles on ConsumerAffairs.com of great interest: “Three Years Later: Pyrex Dishes Still Go Boom” and “Pyrex Cookware.”

I e-mailed questions about whether consumers should throw away their Pyrex cookware due to these exploding incidents to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Scott Wolfson, a spokesperson for the CPSC, replied:

CPSC does not recommend that consumers dispose of their Pyrex dishes, but we do believe that it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for use and to report to CPSC if you ever experience an incident with the product.

After Wolfson’s prompt reply, I e-mailed more questions:

ConsumerAffairs.com is a reliable Website. It reports more than 350 complaints from Pyrex exploding in the article below, which was written three years ago.

I checked again and found an updated article of dozens of more cases of exploding Pyrex: www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/pyrex.html.
Isn’t World Kitchens [makers of Pyrex] concerned about these explosions? Some could be attributed to consumer misuse, such as one consumer broiled in a glass dish and others set theirs on the stovetop where a glass surface unit could have still been too hot. However, some people used ingredients at room temperature and from the refrigerator, and their measuring cup exploded. Another consumer's Pyrex exploded in the dishwasher the day after the dishes had been washed…
Is the commission staff looking into the complaints filed with ConsumerAffairs.com? Should all those consumers file complaints with you?
I looked on the Pyrex Web site where this problem is addressed. World Kitchens blames the problem entirely on consumer misuse. It says since injuries aren’t coming up in your database, they aren’t occurring.
I’ve used Pyrex products for years with no problems. However, my daughter bought me a glass casserole dish recently. I’m wondering if I should use it. I’d hate to have an exploding Pyrex container accident such as the ones described on ConsumerAffairs.com. It sounds really traumatic.

Wolfson replied:

For additional information specific to Pyrex, please submit a FOIA request via e-mail to Alberta Mills at amills@cpsc.gov.

I’ve submitted the Freedom of Information Act request, but I don’t understand why Wolfson wouldn’t answer my questions. I received this reply in the acknowledgment of my FOIA request:

Due to certain procedural steps we are required to take under our statute, there may be delays in providing the records. Please be assured that every effort is being made to process each request as equitably as possible, and that the records or information that you have requested will be made available to you at the earliest possible date.

So now I’m waiting for more information. I still don’t know what to do about my Pyrex casserole. I’m treating it gingerly until I receive more information.

What about you? Have you had problems with Pyrex cookware? If so, let me know in the Comment section below.

Update: The information I requested from the CPSC on exploding Pyrex baking dishes was interesting.

The agency send me 75 incident reports from January 1999 through March 9, 2010. World Kitchen, through its law firm – Manatt, Phelps, Phillips – responded to each report.

Of the 75 reports, one was for another company, two were duplicates, and 13 were caused by a mistake in use that the consumer made, such as using the glass pan on a burner or putting it in an oven that was preheating. That leaves 59 incident reports.

Twelve consumers reported having injuries associated with their Pyrex cookware exploding. Most were minor cuts with two burns reported. One woman had a cut on her chin that required six stitches.

Two of the reported injuries were severe: one consumer reported a severed tendon in each foot and another consumer reported a severed tendon in an index finger.

For most of the incident reports, Kerrie L. Campbell of Manatt, Phelps, Phillips said World Kitchen wasn’t contacted, it wasn’t confirmed that the exploding cookware was a Pyrex product because it couldn't examine the pieces of glass involved, and the reports and any injury described were unsubstantiated.

In the few cases where World Kitchen examined the glass that shattered, the company blamed the consumer by saying the breakage was caused by thermal downshock, which means the glass changed temperature rapidly. In two cases, the law firm said the breakage was caused by mechanical impact.

Many of the consumers said the explosion of the Pyrex glassware was traumatic. Several said the warnings about not using on a stove burner or in a preheating oven weren’t prominent enough. They’re on the back of a label and imprinted on the bottom of the glass cookware.

The problem with the exploding Pyrex cookware may be that a change in manufacturing has occurred. The cookware was originally made of borosilicate glass, which is very resistant to thermal shock. Currently, Pyrex is made of soda-lime glass, probably to cut costs, because soda-lime glass is very inexpensive. In addition, Pyrex is no longer made by the original manufacturer.

Glass cookware in Europe is still made of borosilicate glass. In a test by Consumer Reports, cookware made from soda-lime glass exploded while the cookware made from borosilicate glass didnt.

A class-action lawsuit filed in Chicago about exploding cookware has allegations that Correlle Brands, which acquired World Kitchen, has denied in court.

On its website, Corelle Brands doesnt address the problems with exploding Pyrex cookware. It lists safety and use instructions such don’t use on the stovetop, avoid sudden temperature changes, and don't drop or hit against a hard object.

The position of the CPSC is the number of incidents of exploding cookware is small compared to the millions of the items in consumers’ homes and the risk of using it is low.

Comments

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Joyce Michon

I am 66 years old and have many pyrex glass dishes. Some older and some newer but until yesterday I had never had the experience of one of them exploding in the oven. I was baking banana bread (Two loaves) and about 15 minutes before it was done one of the pans exploded in the oven and scared me and my dogs to death. I was baking at 350 degrees and the mixture was room tempurature when poured in. I am now rather afraid to use any of my dishes, I have a large oval deep pyrex dish I only use for Macaroni and cheese and have for years. I am not sure what to do now.

Stasia

Here's a new one for the list...
My Pyrex baking dish was room temp when it exploded at around 10pm one night while my family was watchng TV.
Now, this is a dish that I maybe bake in once a week and have had it only a year. I had baked in it and hand washed it 2 days prior to the explosion. It had been left sitting out on the counter top, off to the side and out of the way for those couple of days, just because I needed to rearrange the cabinet and had procrastinated in putting it where it belonged.
We were just sitting there watching the tube and heard an odd crackling, tinkling sound. Not even quite an explosion just a burst of weird noise and then the aftermath of the shards flying all over the kitchen. Some of them flew 5 feet away.
We are to this day stumped as to why this dish exploded. We could hear it crackling still(and it actually moved on the counter) while we swept and cleaned it up. It was broken into the tiniest pieces! Has this happened to anyone else? The dish was neither hot nor cold and the room was a mild temp.
Needless to say, until I figure out how and why this happened, ALL of my Pyrex is staying put in the cabinets. Just so happy that no one was in the kitchen when it happened!

jeff

We just had an incident a few weeks ago at a family gathering. I took a casserole out of the oven and set it on a few oven mitts, walked away, and then heard a "Pow!" I went back in the kitchen and the 13 x 9 dish had exploded all over the counter. It did not break into small fragments, but into very long and straight shards. Even the cleanup was dangerous.

There were a lot of little kids running around, and we were just very lucky that they were not in the kitchen at the time or this could have been tragic.

My day job is a consultant for heavy industry, and I've seen corners being cut routinely. I agree with one article that talked about improperly tempered glass, probably caused by a small handful of individuals who are looking to cut costs to get their numbers down and their bonus up.

Marie Learner

I just had this happen last night! I had roasted a pork tenderloin in an ovenproof glass dish @ 350. Took this out of the oven and removed the tenderloin. As I have done for many years, put the dish on the stove and was whisking in the flour to make gravy when the dish exploded everywhere! I was covered in gravy and glass, but fortunate not to have had the shards of glass hit me in the face! And even more fortunate that my 10 yr. old son did not hit with the glass as well since he was 10 feet from me waiting for dinner! I just looked at him and said, "so guess what you are NOT having for dinner tonite?" With a big smile, "gravy?" It did take several hours to clean up the glass. I still won't let anyone walk in the kitchen without shoes!

heather

Ok my mom picked up our glass dish 10 minutes ago with a pair of oven mits and it exploded in her hands before it was even out of the oven! Thank god she is not hurt! I vote we give up the glass cookwear and accept the fact it is not safe! My mom could be blind or seriously burned right now. The glass went EVERYWHERE!

lkdn

I live in Australia and experienced a similar incident.

I was grabbing a pyrex bowl out of the microwave (having put it in there for a minute from room temperature) and it exploded/shattered in my hand. I have had three operations over the past year, but am yet to regain full movement/feeling.

I a journalist/law student writing an article on the issue. I would love to speak to ANYONE about it.

Feel free to get in touch...

Thanks!

Rita

Heather,

Be sure and report your family's accident to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at http://www.cpsc.gov/talk.html.

I'm sorry your mom had the accident. I'm glad she's O.K.

Rita

Vickie

My mom grabed the dish in the oven with oven mitts on as she pulled it out of the oven and went to go set it on top of the stove it exploded before she could set it down. Glass went everwhere. Including all over my new floor. I just moved into the house we just had built two weeks earlier. I salled pyrex and sent them the glass and of course they said they found no fault in the glass. Please come on all these complaints and its the comsumers fault. Something is causing these to explode.

Rita

Vickie,

Was your mom hurt? What an upsetting thing to happen.

It's important to report your family's accident to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at http://www.cpsc.gov/talk.html.

The agency is aware these complaints are occurring, but it hasn't taken any action yet.

Rita

Deniseirwin

Last night I took my Pyrex out of the oven and placed it down on teh stovetop(which was warm, not hot or cold) and it blew up like a grenade! Thank God it missed my face, I had to get a few stitches in my foot because a piece of glass hit the bottom of my foot and cut and burned it. I do not understand why the company does not put warning labels ont he product!! These accidents are far too many to not have something legally done about.

Rita

Hi Denise,

I'm really sorry you had an accident with your Pyrex dish. I agree action should be taken to stop this these exploding Pyrex products. It's been going on for too long.

Be sure to report your family's accident to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at http://www.cpsc.gov/talk.html.

Best wishes,
Rita

Sorita Sawyer

I had this experience the other night, it exploded twice and we were lucky not to be injured. I contacted Woolworths Australia to alert them and requested a refund. They refered me to World Kitchens who sent me a standard reply and stated that it was a rare occurence. They offered me a replacement which I have declined because I beleive they are dangerous. I have re-contacted Woolworths and will let you know the outcome.

Betty Sizemore

This afternoon I had baked some cookies. When they had cooled I put them in a Pyrex storage bowl that has the dark blue lid with an oval type vent tab. I purchased it from Wal Mart last summer in 2011. I then placed the container in the fridge and after about 4 hours I took it out, flipped open the vent tab, put it in the microwave for 1 minute. The dish wasn't hot at all so I took it out of the microwave with my hands and placed it on the Formica countertop. Withnin 15 seconds I heard a cracking noise and turned to look at the bowl and sure enough the bottom had cracked and splintered. No one got injured, but I don't think I can trust Pyrex anymore.

luke

I owned my pyrex for 10 days. using it three times. I was cooking french fries in the bakeware in the oven and it shattered with about 5 minutes left for it to cook.
glad it shattered in the oven and not all over the floor.

Dina

Happened to me tonight. I cooked cabbage and potatoes in a pot on the stove. I took the top off the pot and let the food cool for about 20 minutes before placing it in my 9x13 Pyrex dish. I chose it because it has a plastic lid and it was just the right size. The dish was on the countertop. I had put about 3 scoops of food into the dish when it exploded EVERYWHERE. I got a small cut on my arm from a shard of glass. Thank god my pets weren't in the room. The glass went everywhere within a 6 foot radius. I just received this dish as a shower present. There were NO cracks, dings, or any other problems. This was the first time I used it. I lost the food and the dish, but the worst part is I got a whole set of Pyrex for the shower that I'm now afraid to use.

Rita

Hi Diana,

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide.

I'm sorry you had such a terrible problem with your Pyrex. It's good you weren't badly injured.

Be sure to file a complaint with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Here's the link:

https://www.saferproducts.gov/CPSRMSPublic/Incidents/ReportIncident.aspx

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has asked the commission to look into this continuing problem. Here are two of its articles on the topic:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/october/home-garden/bakeware/from-the-lab-to-the-kitchen/index.htm

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/january/home-garden/glass-cookware/breaking-glass-cookware/index.htm

Check the Consumer Reports website for more information on Pyrex explosions.

Rita

Michelle Gilberti

tonite i was baking ribs in the oven in my 9x13 baking dish. I took the pyrex dish out of the oven. I went to cut the ribs and the pan just exploded. Shards chunks and large pieces shot every where. I was hit in the forhead with many shards and had blood all over dripping down my forhead. I am 60 yrs old this is not my first pyrex. What would cause this. I sure hope it doesn't scar. It does however hurt like hell.
Michelle

Rita

Hi Michelle,

Be sure to go to the doctor to have your wounds looked at.

Consumers have been complaining for several years about exploding Pyrex, so many that the company has put a statement on its website that tells consumers the products are safe. They say consumers are putting them on the stove burners and misusing them in other ways. However, Pyrex baking dishes continue to explode.

Here's a link to a Consumerist article that describes tests by Consumer Reports on exploding glass baking dishes: http://consumerist.com/2010/12/07/consumer-reports-breaks-a-lot-of-glass-investigating-shattering-pyrex/

Be sure to file a report with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Here's the link: https://www.saferproducts.gov/CPSRMSPublic/Incidents/ReportIncident.aspx

Best wishes and let me know what the doctor says.


Rita Robison, Consumer Journalist
The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

Lacey Haynie

I just baked German Pancakes in my pyrex glass dish sat it on top of the stove which was off and two seconds after I sat it down, it blew up all over my kitchen. Luckily I still had the oven mit on and had just turned my back and a lot of the glass hit my hand with the oven mit. I had a bread dish explode in the middle of baking bread several years ago, I thought it was surely an isolated incident. Then while softening butter in my pyrex measuring glass, it exploded - using a low temperature. I even thought maybe this was just a flyer. Yikes, I believe I followed the manufacturers instructions, but if I didn't, I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary for cooking. What good is a cooking dish that you have to follow the tiniest instruction to the tee or risk being embedded with exploding glass. Seriously folks, a landmine is safe if you follow all the manufacturers instructions: IE: don't step on it.

Rita

Hi Lacey,

I'm sorry that you had a problem with a Pyrex glass dish exploding. Be sure to file a report with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Here's the link: https://www.saferproducts.gov/CPSRMSPublic/Incidents/ReportIncident.aspx

If you put your Pyrex measuring cup on the stove burner to melt the butter, that may have caused it to explode. Most glass cookware isn't designed to be used on the burners.

As you can see, I've had a lot of readers tell me about incidents with exploding Pyrex baking dishes. I'll contact the commission and see what they're doing about it.

Rita

Marianne

Hi I’ve been using your glass ware for many years. On Saturday my husband took out the plate out of the oven. Placed it on our stove top. As he turned around the dish exploded. We’re lucky it shattered everyone but did not hit him. I’ve never ever in years using the glassware experienced this. Not sure if the dish was just to old? Not really not sure what happened. We always take the dish out of the oven and place it on our stove top. I took pictures of the incident. Just glad my husband didnt get hurt nor my 6 year old twins, who love baking and always in the kitchen. . It was definitely very scary!

Marianne

Rita

Hi Marianne,

Be sure and report the incident to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

As you can see from all the comments to my article, that many people are having this problem. Unfortunately, the commission hasn't done much about it.

It's good no one was hurt and that you took a photo.

Rita

jf

2 times i've had pyrex cookware explode. 1st time maybe my fault. cooking something dry, mushrooms, I put it in the sink under hot water which perhaps wasn't hot enough yet. but yesterday as I removed a pyrex with mushrooms (again but not dried out this time) in it the juice in the mushroom cap spilled onto the glass and It exploded in my hand all over the inside of my oven and out onto my floor. i filed a report and am going to either give up my pyrex or mushrooms

Deanerimerman

Wow... So many comments... Not sure how this ended up in my feeds as a new article this morning, but I exclusively use pyrex for all my cooking and baking because it's the least toxic way to cook.

Sadly, there's so much consumer incompetence when it comes to shattering pyrex from changing the temperature too fast that you can no longer by pyrex saucepans and pots so I'm always looking for them at Goodwill.

Rita

Hi Deane,

I updated this article, and, for some reason, it appeared as a new article. I've written Typepad and asked them how this mistake occurred.

I've made updates and corrected errors before, and they haven't appeared as new articles.

I just made an additional update and it, fortunately, didn't appear as a new article.

Yes, always use glass cookware correctly. With the new Pyrex, you can't use it on the stovetop.

Rita

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