Over Glass Used in Tabletops in the News Once Again
March 23, 2009
Safety issues relating to glass tabletops are making headlines
again. A review conducted by Children's Hospital Boston done in
collaboration with Consumer's Union, publisher of Consumer Reports
magazine, found that many injuries involving glass tabletops could
have been avoided if tempered glass had been used. The report has
been garnering a fair amount of press coverage (see links below).
Using a computer algorithm to search electronic records, researchers
identified 174 glass-table injuries logged by the hospital's emergency
department between 1995 and 2007. In reviewing the patients' charts,
they concluded that half of the injuries would have been preventable
or less severe with safety glass. Cuts were most often on the face,
especially in young children, followed by feet, legs, hands and
arms. Forty percent of patients needed imaging to find buried pieces
of glass, and 80 percent needed surgical repair.
"This is a serious safety hazard with a simple remedy,"
says Donald Mays, senior director of product safety and technical
policy for Consumers Union. "The use of tempered glass can
significantly reduce the more than 20,000 serious injuries incurred
each year from the use of common annealed glass in furniture."
In order to try and increase the amount of safety glass used in
furniture applications, ASTM International is currently working
to develop a standard (CLICK
HERE for related article).
ASTM Subcommittee F15.42 on Furniture Safety, which reports to
Committee F15 on Consumer Products, balloted a draft standard earlier
this year. However, an ASTM representative told USGNN.com that numerous
negatives were returned, which are now being addressed. All must
be resolved before the ballot can move forward.
Mays told USGNN.com that he is working with ASTM on the development
of the standard and expects that many of the negatives will be resolved
soon so that they can move forward on the next ballot. Mays says
some of the negatives related to the language used in the standard.
"We want the language to be clear so that it cannot be misinterpreted,"
However, should a standard ultimately be published, this may not
resolve completely the concern over a lack of safety glass used
in furniture. For one, a standard is only voluntary and cannot be
enforced unless mandated by code or law. Currently, the Consumer
Products Safety Commission, for example, does not mandate safety
glass for tabletops. In addition, another consideration is the fact
that much of the glass used for furniture is made in other countries,
namely China. Mays says he hopes that sine ASTM is an international
organization that manufacturers outside the United States would
still produce glass in compliance with the standard.
Click on the publication names below to see more of the media coverage
this issue has received.
ABC Channel 15
HERE for information on ordering the full report from Pediatric
HERE to read USGNN.com publisher Deb Levy's July 2007 editorial
on the subject.
Need more info and analysis about the issues?
HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.