Modern Glass Bakeware: More Likely to Shatter?

Have you ever suspected the decades-old Pyrex baking dish you received from your grandmother is a lot more durable than a modern glass dish? You might be right.

Earlier this year Consumer Reports published findings that the glass bakeware currently sold in the U.S. is more likely to shatter than its European counterparts. Since then, the magazine has received over 140 more reports of glassware unexpectedly shattering, with about half resulting in injury. What's going on here?

We missed this story when it came out in January, but the article and its accompanying video are fascinating. The two major brands of glass bakeware, Pyrex and Anchor Hocking, were originally made from borosilicate glass, a heat-resistant glass first developed by Corning for use in railroad yard lanterns in the early 1900s. At some point along the way — no one will reveal exactly when, but it may have been in the 1980s or '90s — both companies switched to soda lime glass, a less expensive alternative.

European glass bakeware is still made with borosilicate, so Consumer Reports put the two types of glass to the test in this video. They went beyond the conditions of the average kitchen, but the results are still clear: borosilicate glass is more resistant to extreme temperature changes than soda lime glass.

If you're feeling like you want to to review the safety instructions for glass bakeware right about now, Consumer Reports offers a good roundup of precautions.

Read the article: Glass bakeware that shatters at Consumer Reports
Check out the update: Shattered glass: More than 140 new incidents reported

Has this ever happened to you? Will you use glass bakeware less frequently now that you know about these issues?

Related: Good Question: Bad Break-up With My Pyrex Bowl?

(Image: Flickr member technodad licensed under Creative Commons)

70 Comments