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Glass tables responsible for more than 2 million injuries every year, researchers say

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Newark, NJ — Stricter federal regulations could prevent millions of serious injuries – some life-threatening – associated with glass tables and tabletops, say researchers from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

According to a Sept. 15 university press release citing the Consumer Product Safety Commission, use of tempered glass is mandatory for doors but voluntary for horizontal surfaces such as tabletops, which “often are made with untempered glass and are more likely to break into sharp edges that can cause severe lacerations.” More than 2.5 million injuries involving glass tables are reported each year, it adds.

The researchers studied 3,241 such injury cases recorded between 2009 and 2015 in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and 24 cases from an unnamed Level I trauma center. They found that 56% of the injuries were attributed to “faulty tables,” including 15% classified as “severe.” Injuries to the forehead and upper extremities (i.e., the hands, wrists and fingers) were most common. Children age 7 and younger and people in their early 20s were most often injured.

Among the 24 trauma cases, 58% required surgery and 34% involved “major organ, body cavity or joint space injuries.” Around 54% involved inpatient hospital care.

“It is imperative to push for stricter regulation as consumers of glass tables should not be incurring life-threatening trauma injuries due to neglect of manufacturers in not using tempered glass,” Stephanie Bonne, researcher and an assistant professor of surgery at the medical school, said in the release.

The study was published online July 26 in The American Journal of Surgery.

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