Last evening I used two different 8X8 pieces of pyrex bakeware; one to cook a turkey burger and one to cook a salmon burger. Both were cooked at 400 degrees F. The salmon burger was in the oven for 20 minutes, the turkey burger for 30. As normal, I took each piece of pyrex out of the oven when necessary and placed them both on my stove top. The pyrex containing the salmon burger had a longer chance to cool than the pyrex containing the turkey burger before I put water and dish detergent in them to soak. This is pretty standard operations in my kitchen whenever I make this meal.
What I did not expect, was for the turkey burger pyrex dish to explode in my hands. And just so we’re clear – I am not using the word “explode” for hyperbole or some other literary effect to endear you into reading future posts of my blog. The dish literally shattered into hundreds of pieces right in my hands with a sharp, loud noise, and fell sizzling into my kitchen sink.
The first thing I remember yelling into the living room was that I was OK, because I heard Mike scramble as he ran into the kitchen. I asked him later if I screamed. He said I did. I’m pretty sure I jumped too. I know Noah did. To be honest, it was a bit unnerving. I had never witnessed anything like that, so up close and personal, in my life.
It is true, I had not let the pan cool as long as I normally do, but this was actually to my benefit. Because the dish was still warm, I used pot-holders and ran the dish under water at the sink (rather than pouring water from a cup into the dish on my stove). Those two things, along with God’s grace, saved me from an otherwise pretty probable trip to the emergency room.
I felt kind of silly afterward. I convinced myself it might make sense that if you run cold water over hot glass it could break. I considered not posting anything to my facebook page – but I’m so glad I did.
Turns out other people I know personally have had similar experiences. What’s more, there are other reported cases of people across the country that have sustained what I would call some pretty major injuries. At least they seem pretty major to me when you’re talking about injuries coming from seemingly harmless bakeware that is in the majority of American homes. The one that scared me the most was from a woman in Connecticut whose bakeware exploded when she removed it from the oven. Pieces of glass were found ten feet away in the back of her two year old’s chair (who was in the chair at the time, but fortunately unhurt).
I encourage you to check into this if you’ve purchased pyrex since 1998 when the brand was transferred from the Corning company to World Kitchen. From what I’ve gleamed in my very limited understanding, there is speculation that the composition of pyrex changed from borosilicate (which is still used in Europe where they have no similar stories of exploding pyrex) to soda lime glass. There is also speculation that current pyrex is not tempered correctly and thus is more likely to break (or shatter).
At this point, I’ve contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-638-2772) to share my story, and Mike and I have decided to remove pyrex from our kitchen (it will be will saved in hopes a US product recall might be issued). We don’t want to chance it. With a very busy two year old, and another baby on the way, I can’t chance having a baking dish explode when I remove it from the oven, or place it on the counter, or try to run water over it. The risk to my babies is just simply not worth it. I’ll scrub a little harder on some other product that promises to do what it says it will without any dangerous surprises.