Q: As a consumer specialist, have you heard about recent problems with glass bakeware shattering and causing injuries? I own a good bit, so I'm very concerned. -- Cindi Cook
A: Dear Ms. Cook: The makers of glass bakeware have been around for decades, and most households own at least a couple of pieces. It used to be made of a shatter-resistant substance, but now they're made of much less expensive soda-lime glass.
It turns out that after Consumer Reports tests in extreme conditions likely to cause breakage, the soda-lime dishes broke 10 out of 10 times. Worse, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, some people experienced facial lacerations and minor burns. Consumer Reports takes a step further and advises us to use only metal pans. However, if continuing use of the glassware, follow these steps carefully:
-- Don't take dishes directly from the freezer to the oven and vice versa.
-- Don't place glassware into the oven until it completes its preheat.
-- Don't place it directly on a burner or under a broiler.
-- Don't forget to cover the bottom with liquid before cooking.
-- Don't add liquid to glassware that's already hot.
-- Don't place hot bakeware directly onto a stove, on cold or wet surfaces, on a counter, or in a sink without first placing it on a towel or pot holder to cool.
While I initially thought some of this advice seemed silly, once I realized I actually do a couple of these "don'ts," one of my New Year's resolutions is to buy all new cookware!
Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.