Food seems to go hand in hand with the holiday season, but some cooks using recently purchased glass Pyrex baking dishes have reported nasty surprises. The dishes mostly the 13-by-9-inch baking dish have shattered unexpectedly.
"After taking my Pyrex 13 x 9 casserole dish out of a 350-degree oven it exploded while cooling on my stovetop," Sarah, of Pittsburgh, told ConsumerAffairs.com.
It was a similar story from Manny, of Bethel, Connecticut.
"While taking a casserole out of my oven at 375 degrees, the casserole was placed on the range to cool and the pan exploded."
The reports, arriving within a one-month period this fall, are surprising to many cooks, who have long considered Pyrex baking dishes to be not only dependable, but nearly indestructible.
"I have used Pyrex and Corning Ware for all my 33-years of married life and never had a problem until last evening," Molly, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania told ConsumerAffairs.com.
"I had four people for dinner, had just taken a Pyrex baking dish from the oven and placed on top of stove when it exploded sending glass all over."
Diane, of Brier, Washington also experienced a Pyrex explosion. And like many others, her story fit theirs. The pan was 13 by nine inches, and the mishap occurred as the pan was cooling on the counter after baking. In a follow up interview, she told ConsumerAffairs.com she had been using the pan for about a year.
"I purchased the 13 x 9 pan in a Pyrex set November 2004 at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I used it pretty regularly. When I contacted Bed, Bath and Beyond, they stated they had also heard of several incidents," she said.
Pyrex was developed as a tempered glass product by Corning Glass Works in 1924. Known as a "borosilicate" glass, it contains boron as well as the glassmakers usual mix of sand, soda and lime. The boron makes the glass less likely to expand during changes in temperature. When it does break, scientists say it should crack into large pieces rather than shatter.
Over the years, Pyrex cookware has become a fixture in the kitchen. Many cooks say the Pyrex pie plate is the standard pie dish. Pyrex measuring cups are also widely used.
So why the problems?
Scientists accustomed to using Pyrex test tubes and beakers in the laboratory say the glass can weaken with age and use. If small cracks develop over time, it can make the glass expand and contract in temperature extremes. But in the case of some consumers writing to ConsumerAffairs.com, the dishes were new, or at least fairly new.
Corning spun off its kitchenwares division in the 1990s, so Pyrex is now owned by World Kitchen, which also owns CorningWare. World Kitchen provides a two-year guarantee on its Pyrex products.
"World Kitchen, Inc. promises to replace any Pyrex brand glass item that breaks from oven heat within two years from date of purchase," the company says on its Website.
However, there are certain conditions. World Kitchens advises consumers to never use Pyrex products on stove tops, under a broiler, or in a toaster oven. Consumers are also told to avoid "severe" hot to cold temperature changes. Cooks, who in the past found that Pyrex was durable enough to allow some latitude from those conditions, are apparently finding that now, any deviation is risky business.
"I used my 13-by-9 Pyrex pan to cook a roast. As I was making gravy, the dish suddenly shattered all over the place. I am still finding shards of glass and it has been two days," Brandy, of Macomb, Michigan told ConsumerAffairs.com.