California Approves Flame-Retardant-Free Insulation Below Grade
WARNING – FIRE HAZARD.
That’s how plastic foam insulation will have to be marked following a decision by the State of California Building Standards Commission to allow flame-retardant-free products to be used below grade. The boards will also have to say, in ½-inch-high red lettering, “This product is required to be installed below a minimum 3.5-inch-thick concrete slab on grade,” among other text explaining how the insulation must be used. Packaging will also instruct jobsite workers about storage requirements for the insulation, which will contain no flame retardants and have no fire-testing requirements.
That’s if this type of insulation ever makes it to the market, which is not guaranteed (manufacturers will need to see demand for the product and be willing to take the potential legal risk). But health advocates are claiming a “huge victory,” with an email from the Green Science Policy Institute (GSPI) declaring that flame retardants have “no fire safety benefit” and stating that the institute “applauds this very positive first step.”
The push for this type of ruling started bigger, with GSPI and others arguing to the International Code Council that flame retardants should not be needed in insulation that’s installed behind gypsum wallboard or underneath a concrete slab. A 2012 petition to change the rules in the International Residential Code was voted down, but work has continued at the state level, resulting in this first code ruling of its kind.
More on flame retardants in insulation
For more information:
Green Science Policy Institute
Published March 4, 2019