The Consumer Product Safety Commission this week proposed amendments to its safety standard governing the manufacture and sale of cellulose home insulation, paving the way toward stricter safeguards against the sale of flammable and corrosive materials.
The changes in the existing cellulose insulation standard call for two new tests that must be passed by manufacturers in order for their products to be legally sold.
The first test is designed to determine whether smoldering will continue in the cellulose material once it has begun, while the second test will assess the potential of the insulation to propagate open flames across its surface.
The problem of smoldering combustion is not addressed in the present cellulose insulation standard, which the CPSC was ordered to implement last year by Congress, following the signing of the "Emergency Interim Consumer Product Safety Act by President Carter, allowing the commission to go around existing rules that would have slowed the process of developing safety standards.
The new rules take effect on Oct. 15, 1979, after the commission has had a chance to review public comment on them.
In the new test, which represents the first time the standards will address the smoldering combustion problem, a lit cigarette is placed in a small sample of conditioned insulation in an open-top, stainless steel box.The cigarette and insulation are allowed to burn for at least two hours or until smoldering stope.
To pass the test, the insulation sample must not show signs of flaming combustion and cannot lose in smoldering more than 15 percent of its initial weight.