The Consumer Product Safety Commission voted yesterday to ask for proposed voluntary standards for cellulose insulation materials to reduce fire hazards and eliminate "fly-by-night" operators from the industry.
Improper installations of insulation by home owners and inexperienced contractors as well as the use of inferior materials that are not flame retardant have caused a growing number of home fires across the nation, a CPSC spokesman said.
On occasion, homeowners have placed the insulation around electric light sockets and chimney flues, not realizing the fire hazard they were creating he said.
Taking note of the rapid growth of the insulation industry, the CPSC staff proposed to the commission a two-year program, requiring $14 million and 80 staff positions, to research flammability and other hazards in the industry.
This year about 8 million home owners are expected to reinsulate their houses because of the tax credit promised in the president's proposed tax package and in order to cut energy costs. This compares with 6 million last year and 2.6 million in 1976, according to commission figures.
The commission plans to detail the budget request for the research program further before considering its submission to the Office of Management and budget and to Congress.
At the meeting yesterday the commission agreed to publish the requests for proposed voluntary standards in the Federal Register within a few days, which would give consumers and industry 30 days in which to respond to the notice.