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    Tackling Safety and Health Issues in the Use of Thermal Insulation

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    Safety and health issues on the use of thermal insulation were formally brought to the attention of the Consumer Product Safety Commission by a petition from the Metropolitan Denver District Attorney's Consumer Office in 1976. Risks of injury due to fire, chemical, or health hazards from cellulose, fibrous glass, and plastic foam insulation materials were alleged by the petitioner. New concern has been raised over the contributive effect of thermal insulation and other products to indoor air quality. Many of these issues are complex and systematic in nature, requiring considerable time and resources to address. The Commission funded research work, in several instances, at the National Bureau of Standards and the Franklin Research Center. Key questions were studied, such as appropriate fire test methods for cellulose insulation and formaldehyde off-gassing from urea-formaldehyde foam insulation. Various actions were taken by the Commission including implementing mandatory regulations for cellulose insulation by Congressional order, working with industry in developing voluntary standards for fibrous glass insulation, and proposing a ban on urea-formaldehyde foam insulation.


    thermal insulation, safety, health, cellulose, fibrous glass, ureaformaldehyde, formaldehyde, fires, corrosion, cancer

    Author Information:

    Lancer, PM
    Chemical Engineer, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C.,

    Committee/Subcommittee: C16.24

    DOI: 10.1520/STP29436S