3 On Your Side: Shower Door Safety Glass, Not So Safe

Beware! There may be an immeasurable hazard in your bathroom, your glass shower door! It can happen in an instant; shower doors spontaneously shattering, sometimes while a person is showering, resulting in injuries of various magnitudes. Framed or unframed, something as simple as closing the door a little too hard, worn rubber stoppers, or damaged runners, typically from wear and tear, can create a small unseen fractures in the side-edge of the door causing the glass to explode at any time, like a ticking time bomb. CBS Philly, Jim Donovan, reports.

 

 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  It can happen in a split second.  One minute you’re getting ready, the next you’re covered in glass after the shower door explodes.  It’s happening so often that the federal government is now taking notice.  3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan explains.

Diane Parker says it sounded like a bomb.   She was staying at the Four Seasons hotel in Chicago, attending her brother’s wedding, when after opening a glass shower door, it exploded.  According to Parker,  “It just flew everywhere and I ended up on the ground, looking at my arm gushing blood.  I had shards of glass all over my neck, my entire body, it was pretty painful.”

Parker’s case is not an isolated incident.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission there are 300 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms every year from shower doors that shatter.

“It shattered. There was no force it just shattered like a bomb,” says Oliver Kwilinski.  The young boy suffered cuts to his arms when the glass from the shower door in his bathroom came raining down.  His mother Amy says, “The explosion was so loud I ran upstairs expecting an airplane through the roof  or a tree falling on my house or something.”

In a demonstration, glass expert Mark Meshulam showed what happens when shower doors break.   Under law, the glass used in showers is required to be safety glass, meaning it will break into little cubes.  Meshulam says, “Except that sometimes those pieces don’t separate like those here and they don’t separate fast enough to protect the person in the shower when they come crashing down.”  In slow motion video we saw exactly what he is talking about, the safety glass falls in big chunks.  He says, “Anyone who is in that shower is at risk.”

To keep your family safe Meshulam recommends putting a safety film on glass used in showers.  If it does shatter, the coated glass stays together.  He says, “I believe these doors should be designed like car windshields where the glass stays together when it’s broken.”

He warns that something as simple as allowing a shower door to hit tile can cause breaks.  Diane Parker believes the door hitting the wall in her hotel bathroom caused the glass to explode.  She says, “You should be able to expect that you go in there and open and operate the door without it injuring you.”

Parker is suing the hotel in federal court.   The Four Seasons had no comment.

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