A Maryland congressman has joined the Consumer Product Safety Commission in an attempt to warn the public about the dangers of aluminum wiring in millions of homes around the country.
The wiring, installed in homes between 1965 and 1973, is prone to over-heating and believed to be injuries and considerable property damage.
The CPSC has filed a suit in District Court here asking that 26 aluminum wire manufacturers be forced to warn consumers who live in the affected homes and eventually replace the wiring or the cause of the potential danger.
Rep. Newton 1. Steers (R-Md) is from Montgomery county, where some 3,000 homes fall into the designated category of endangered residences. The problem homes include single-family dwellings, town houses and apartment buildings.
In 1967 county school officials banned use of aluminum wiring in school buildings, with the entire county following suit five years later. Still, several municipalities with their own codes have allowed the use of aluminum wiring in new construction.
Steers has introduced a bill to congress that would allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to warn and protect homeowners around the country about the dangers of the aluminum wire installations. The commission is forbidden from doing so presently because of a suit brought by Kaiser Aluminum of Oakland, Calif., charging that the agency was disseminating untrue information. The suit is still pending.
Kaiser also charged that the CPSC has no jurisdiction in the area of aluminum wiring because it is not a consumer product.
Steers' bill would classify aluminum wiring as a consumer product, thus allowing the CPSC to disseminate warning information.
The CPSC, in its suit filed in District Court recently, said that only some homes with aluminum wiring are affected.
Steers said that a study conducted in Montgomery county by the CPSC revealed that in the estimated 3,000 homes with aluminum wiring, 40 per cent were overheating,18 per cent were found to be overheating to 100 degrees centigrade, a condition Steers described as "runaway."