Commonly found in most domestic kitchens, cookware consists of several different types of vessels used during food preparation including casserole dishes, saucepans, frying pans, broiling pans, soup pots, roasters, and bakeware such as loaf pans, muffin tins, cake pans, and cookie sheets. Cookware may be used on a stove, within a conventional or microwave oven, or in other heating devices. These containers are generally constructed of glass, metal, ceramic, pottery, stone, or other substances capable of withstanding high temperatures.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, aluminum cookware can melt and cause severe burns when the molten aluminum drips onto the user’s skin. Handles frequently melt or break from cookware, causing spills and burns. Ill fitting covers, lids, and other parts also increase the risk of liquid boiling over, splashing, or accidentally burning users when they struggle to remove them.
In 2008, cookware resulted in a reported number of 8,600 thermal burns and 7,600 scalds serious enough for emergency room visitation. In the year 2000, 36,480 emergency room visits resulted from injuries sustained during use of cookware and 83,120 patients were seen by physicians outside of the emergency room due to cookware injuries. About 3 percent of the emergency room visits resulted in hospitalization and 11 deaths occurred. Cookware associated deaths in 2000 cost the U.S. $55 million in medical expenses and other accident related treatments cost $1.94 billion.
Some examples of cookware recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to documented injury, household property damage, and death through standard use by consumers are:
- In 2003 Innova, Inc. recalled 8,700 Ultrex Thermal/Double Wall frying pans after 16 reports of the pans exploding during use. Two users received hot oil burns and eight homes were damaged.
- Through 1997, 123,500 Pflatzgraff Pizza Stones were sold throughout the U.S. with accompanying instruction booklets which advised consumers to coat the stone with oil before use in a hot oven. Due to inadequate cleaning instructions, two homes caught on fire from oil fires caused by ignition of oil residue on previously used pizza stones.
- In 2008, Fingerhut recalled 9000 Chef’s Mark cookware sets after six reports of handle breakage during use and three incidences of burn injuries to consumers.
- In 1991, a 94 year old woman burned her fingers while picking up molten aluminum from the floor after it had dripped from a melted cooking pot manufactured by Revere Ware Corporation of Illinois.
- In 1997, there were multiple reports of Corning Visions glass cookware spontaneously and upon dropping exploding into hundreds of tiny pieces, either in one action or as part of multiple explosions. Some injuries were reported, including one serious collection of laceration injuries upon one patient’s limbs, including a severed artery.