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2 Investigators: Families Injured By Shattering Glass Tabletops

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The owner of a glass tabletop holds a shard of glass and says the product exploded. (CBS)

The owner of a glass tabletop holds a shard of glass and says the product exploded. (CBS)

Dave Savini Dave Savini
Award-winning Chicago journalist Dave Savini serves as investigative...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Glass-topped patio tables are shattering for no apparent reason and even causing injuries.

Federal officials say it is a real problem. So what is being done to fix it? CBS 2’s Dave Savini investigates and speaks with a local family that says their table exploded for no apparent reason.

Dan DiLauro shows what’s left of his tempered-glass patio table: the frame. He also kept a bag of glass as evidence of what cut his neighbor, mother-in-law and wife, Danielle, when the tabletop exploded.

The tabletop shattered into thousands of tiny razor-sharp pieces, he says.

Danielle DiLauro was seven months pregnant when it happened. She’s thankful it wasn’t a few months later because the baby would likely have been near the table.

“I couldn’t believe what happened. The glass literally just exploded,” she says.

CBS 2 has learned tempered-glass patio tables have been shattering suddenly across the country; the problem spans different manufacturers. A tiny manufacturing imperfection can cause enough stress to make the material shatter unexpectedly.

There are no safety standards in place for manufacturing tempered glass.

Since 2004, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has received 141 complaints of tempered-glass tables spontaneously exploding. That number is considered a fraction of the real problem. About 30 injuries have been reported, including glass in the eye and a finger needing 14 stitches.

An 11-month-old from Canada suffered severe injuries. Her dad reported she was sitting in front of him on the edge of table when it exploded. As she fell, she suffered severe facial cuts requiring 70 stitches.

“It’s really creepy,” Dan DiLauro’s daughter, Molly, says. “And it’s not right that someone would make something that does that.”

The family says no one is taking responsibility for what happened.

“The manufacturer’s response was that their warranty doesn’t cover glass breakage under any circumstance — and that was that,” Dan DiLauro says.

Industry experts and the Consumer Product Safety Commission acknowledge the tempered glass problem and are working on creating standards. However, those manufacturing standards would only be voluntary.

To avoid this danger, you can buy an iron or wood table that doesn’t use glass.

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