Exploding Tables

Reporter: Mark Gibson

If you've got a glass top table, listen to this.

"We were just sitting back a bit from the table like you do when you have a drink, luckily, because it just went boom and it exploded!"

That's right, with four people sitting around it. Mary McConkey's outdoor table exploded into tiny pieces without warning.

Mary's table was 15 months old, 3 months out of warranty, but she didn't expect this response from the shop she bought it from.

"They would deliver a new table to us at a cost to of $125 and I said "no mate, we're not paying any money and I don't want a glass topped table ever again.""

A few days after Mary's table went bang, the same thing happened to Emily and Tony Yozzi…

"I didn't know what to think to be honest because I mean there was nobody around and just this heap of glass under the table."

The same thing happened to Janine van Dyke a few months ago…

"All of a sudden we heard an explosion. I have grandchildren and if they had been sitting at the table colouring in or playing a game with me or perhaps just having a drink and some potato chips, I would hate to guess what would've happened because I'm sure they would've been covered in glass."

So, what's going on? Why are glass tables suddenly imploding, putting families at risk?

"The reason is most likely due to nickel sulphide says Scientist and glass expert, Doctor John Barry.

"It's a contamination that gets in the glass when it's made and if the glass is made more carefully you don't have as much of it but even when it's made very carefully you still have some."

Dr Barry says it's difficult to regulate because the tables are made overseas.

"Manufacturers who have this problem sometimes treat the glass by heat soaking to remove the nickel sulphide but that makes it twice as expensive so if your cost is an issue you wouldn't do that."

Consumer Protection Commissioner Ann Driscoll says even if tables are out of warranty, customers are entitled to a refund.

"Regardless of what might be written on a piece of paper, there's an implied warranty, an implied right that you have, that good is going to be suitable for your use for a reasonable period of time."

Consumer Protection wants to hear from other victims.

"If there are many people with many injuries then we'd be looking to introduce some sort of product safety standard that might redress some of the issues or look for industry to be changing the way they make these things."

Consumer Protection: 1300 30 40 54