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Safety Rule For Cellulose Insulation To Be Developed

Release Date: February 09, 1978

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today took an important step toward developing a mandatory safety standard to reduce fire hazards due to cellulose insulation.

Today's action cites the need for a cellulose insulation safety rule and invites any interested group to develop a safety standard for cellulose insulation or to submit an existing rule for adoption as the national regulation.

The decision was spurred by the increasing likelihood that consumers will risk injury from fires from cellulose home insulation.

According to CPSC, heightened risks of injury stem from the current high demand for home insulation, inexperienced new manufacturers who may use poor facilities, inadequate or improper chemical treatment of products to achieve flame retardancy and incorrect installation by consumers or professionals who place insulation near recessed lighting fixtures, chimney flues, or other heat sources.

Cellulose insulation is made from wood-based fiber such as newspaper that is shredded, ground or pulverized before chemical treatment for flame retardancy. The finished product is a light, fibrous, grayish material that can be poured in place by hand or blown in by machine.

Demand for home insulation has sky-rocketed in recent years.

In 1977, there were about 6 million reinsulation jobs underway, up from 2.6 million in 1976. About 8 million insulation retrofits are expected this year.

Many firms produce a high-quality cellulose product meeting acceptable levels of flame retardancy, according to CPSC. Fire risks increase, however, with cellulose products that are improperly or inadequately treated with chemical flame retardants.

The Commission decision to begin developing a mandatory safety standard for cellulose insulation in part grants a petition from the Metropolitan Denver District Attorney's Consumer Office. That office requested a safety rule for all home insulation, including mineral wools and plastic foam/resins. Last November, CPSC decided to concentrate its immediate efforts on the possible flammability hazard of cellulose.

A notice beginning the standard development process will be published soon in the Federal Register. People interested in submitting an existing standard or an offer to develop a recommended safety rule must do so within 30 days after the Federal Register notice is published.

Copies of the Federal Register notice can be obtained by writing: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC 20207.

The Federal Register notice will also schedule a meeting of potential offerors and CPSC staff to discuss procedures and guidelines for submitting an existing standard or offer.

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About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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