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NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) — Imagine being inside the shower when your glass door suddenly explodes.
It happened to 9-year-old Oliver. “It just shattered like a bomb,” he said.
Oliver couldn’t even hear the blast. He wears cochlear implants. “I couldn’t hear, because I didn’t have these on,” he said.
But he felt it. “It was like a waterfall coming down on me,” he said.
And Oliver may be one of the lucky ones.
When glass crashed in on 7-year-old Lily, her mother said she had to be rushed to the hospital for stitches and staples. “She was screaming, ‘Am I going to die? Am I going to die?'” she said. “She looked like she had been in a car accident.”
Lily, Oliver and nearly 60 other people all within the last year have complained to the Consumer Product Safety Commission about their “shower doors exploding,” “crashing down on them” and “glass and blood all over.”
The pictures, sent to the CPSC by consumers, show how people had to escape through paths of shattered glass. You can see pools of glass and blood standing in showers and many lacerations on arms, legs and hands.
“It happens pretty much everyday,” said Mark Meshulum, a glass expert. He said shower doors are typically made of tempered glass; it’s heated and then cooled creating tension and that give it durability.
“Inside this glass right now, there is 10,000 pounds [of] pressure [per] inch of internal stress,” Meshulum explained, looking at a glass shower door. He said that tension can be triggered over time.
“The entire piece of glass will break in an instant,” he said.
A chip, an unsteady towel bar, a flaw in the glass or loose hardware can all set it off.
Tempered glass is safety glass designed to break into small pieces if it shatters.
However, Meshulum illustrated how much pressure is in the glass. After it exploded into pieces, he pointed to a huge chunk of a shower door still partially in tact dangling from the hardware at the top of the door.
“That’s like a guillotine,” he said.
Meshulum also pointed to a dent in the cement floor below the shower door he intentionally shattered. The mark, he said, shows how powerful the force is when the door explodes.
But then Meshulum intentionally shattered another door. This time, the entire shower glass stayed in tact. It shattered into small pieces but not one of them hit the floor.
That door is covered in a safety film turning it into lamented glass similar to your car windshield. The CBS 11 I-Team paid a glass company $150 to coat the door in the film; most any glass company can do this. The price and installation varies depending on the size of your door. You can also purchase the film in several places online for less money, but glass experts say it is better to have this done professionally.
“I would absolutely consider doing this to my doors,” Vicki Roy, a Dallas resident, said.
Roy’s daughter has refused to use a shower ever since the family found their 12-year-old son standing in a pool of blood and glass late last year.
“I’m shocked something hasn’t been done to fix the problem,” Roy said.
For years, the I-Team has asked what is being done. According to documents the I-Team obtained, the CPSC earlier this year agreed to consider changing the way the tempered glass is tested. The documents say this would likely “result in a minor decrease in injuries and deaths.”
For now, glass experts, like Meshulum, say the safety film is an option.
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