Safety glass not so safe when it explodes in the shower. Here's how to make yours 'safer'
SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - You probably don't think of taking a shower as a particularly dangerous experience. But that's what a lot of people thought just before they were pelted by tiny shards of glass.
Jason Jones says his shower door exploded in his hands while he was replacing the rollers.
“I was just holding it in my hands like you or anyone else would,” he said.
Jones says his hands and arms were gashed and bleeding, and a Get Gephardt investigation found that his experience is far from an isolated one.
More than 2,000 people visited an emergency room in the past five years due to shower doors unexpectedly shattering, according to public records from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Glass expert Mark Meshulam says shower doors are made from no ordinary glass. Federal law demands they be constructed from safety glass. More often than not, that means tempered glass.
“Tempered glass has within it a huge amount of energy,” Meshulam said.
Tempered glass is like a bomb. All that stored-inside energy is trying to get out. At the smallest nick, the glass is designed to blow into thousands of itty-bitty pieces, rather than large shards that could severely cut someone -- especially someone in the shower without any clothes to stand in the way.
But those small glass shards are still sharp.
Meshulam says glass can shatter thanks to a poorly installed towel bar, slipping off the track and smacking the tub, or the glass could break all by itself.
During the manufacturing process, microscopic pebbles, called nickel sulfide inclusions, sometimes get trapped inside the glass. As the glass and pebble gently expand and contract in the heat of a bathroom, the inclusion can weaken the glass until ... BOOM!
But before you throw out all your glass doors for shower curtains, Meshulam says there is something you can do to make your shower doors safer. Installing a thin safety film over the glass can hold the shards together after the door breaks.
Please watch the attached story for a demonstration of a shower door breaking as well as how it holds together with the safety film.