Dwayne Bryant said the crash sounded like someone was taking a bat to the glass front door of his Hyde Park home.
But there was no intruder. A walk to his bathroom in the wee hours that July morning put Bryant in the company of others around the country who’ve had their tempered glass sinks spontaneously and literally explode in a dangerous spray of shrapnel.
"Someone could have gotten seriously injured. I just don’t think that’s right," Bryant said during a recent interview.
In fact, many consumers have been hurt when tempered glass items like shower doors -- containing a microscopic flaw created during the manufacturing process -- blew up.
In Bryant’s case, the leaf-shaped sink had been atop the vanity for four years without incident. Online, dozens of other consumers have shared tales of their tempered glass sinks shattering without warning.
"Sometimes they remain in the glass perfectly benign for the entire life of the product, and other times they turn into a failure," explained Chicago window expert Mark Meshulam. "It happens 14 times the speed of sound. It’s very fast."
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported several hundred cases of tempered glass tables, shower and oven doors exploding for years. Glass sinks are new to the list; the first complaints popped up on the CPSC’s website in January 2013.
The CPSC said there are mandatory standards for many glass items, but none for sinks. The industry relies on a voluntary standard, which happens to be Canadian.
If a consumer's sink shatters, they should contact the manufacturer and file a complaint on the CPSC's SaferProducts.com website.