What could be the most dangerous thing in your kitchen? A Pyrex baking dish! There’s been a recent phenomenon of hot glass cookware randomly exploding, causing victims to suffer everything from extreme burns, to severe lacerations that require stitches.

In fact, the number of people treated for glass cookware explosions at ERs has jumped over 7,000%! And a controversy is heating up over who is to blame. Some researchers believe the increase in explosions is because the glass is faulty. That’s because the glassware used by previous generations, which was pretty much explosion-free, was made from an extremely strong material – specifically, boro-silicate glass. But almost every piece of heat-resistant glassware sold today is made from cheaper soda lime silicate. And a University of Alabama study found that today’s glass has a much harder time handling sudden temperature changes. Even though, back in Grandma’s day, glass cookware was advertised as being able to go from “icebox to oven.” These days, it’s not even advisable to take the cookware out of a 500-degree oven and place in on a cool granite countertop.

But manufacturers say they’ve tested their products thoroughly – and they’re durable and safe. They say the real problem is that people don’t follow the instructions that come with the cookware. For example, you need to avoid banging the glassware around, which creates weak spots, making it more likely to explode. And since 80% of homes have some type of glass cookware, incidents are bound to happen. So, what’s the best way to avoid having your glass cookware shatter in your face?

  • Fill the bottom of glass baking dishes with water or a marinating liquid before cooking meat. The liquid helps distribute heat evenly.

  • Make sure the oven is fully preheated before putting a baking dish in.

  • And always place hot glassware on a trivet or dry potholder. Never directly on the counter or a table, because a sharp temperature change can cause it to shatter.

If your glass cookware has shattered, don’t forget to wear gloves to pick up the bigger shards of glass and use a wet towel or cloth to wipe up the smaller pieces.