Volume 40,   Issue 8                                  August  2005


AFSG Announces Plans to Take Legal Action Against CPSC Over Wired Glass
Greg Abel of Advocates for Safe Glass (AFSG) and Oregon Senator Vicki Walker are preparing to file legal action against the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for “failing to enforce federal regulations enacted in 1977 to protect the public against the dangers of wired glass,” stated an announcement issued by Senator Walker’s office. 

The two are filing legal action against the CPSC for not removing the temporary exemption from the safety compliance standard that was given to wired glass in 1977. Since there were no other fire-rated glazing products at that time, the exemption allowed wired glass to be used in fire doors to ensure compliance with state and local fire codes.

The legal action, which will be filed as a writ of mandamus under the Administrative Procedures Act, will request judicial review of the CPSC’s absence of discretion in failing to implement the federal ban on the use of glazing in doors that does not meet the CPSC standard 16 CFR 1201, the announcement stated. 

In a letter dated May 12, 2004, from the CPSC to the International Code Council, the CPSC said that the wired glass exemption “is very narrow and only applies when use is required by fire codes and ordinances,” the announcement said. It continued, saying that despite the fact that wired glass is no longer required by building codes enforced by state and local jurisdictions, the CPSC has still not stopped the use of wired glass at a national level.

“The CPSC has admitted it has jurisdiction over this dangerous product,” said Senator Walker. “They have the ability to immediately issue safety advisories and a national recall to remove it from locations where it has been used illegally for [more than] a decade, and yet they choose to do nothing.”

This announcement is the latest step taken by AFSG and Senator Walker to advance the use of safe glazing products in lieu of wired glass in schools, athletic facilities and public buildings where it can cause serious injuries. Their efforts have already been successful in that the states of Oregon and Washington, which changed their building codes to eliminate the use of wired glass in new construction. 

ASTM E 2190 Excluded from 2005 NBCC Due to Code Process Deficiencies
The request by the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) that ASTM E 2190, Specification on Insulating Glass, be included as an additional reference to the Canadian General Standards Board 12.8 standard under section e has been denied by the Provincial and Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes (PTPACC). It has been “deferred due to deficiencies in the code process and [is] not due to the technical or economic arguments that IGMA presented,” stated an IGMA press release. The ASTM standard reference, however, has been made a “number-one priority” for the next code change cycle.

IGMA’s executive director, Margaret Webb, and Ray Wakefield of Trulite Industries had presented support for the code changes during the CCBFC meetings in Ottawa, Ontario, June 12-13. According to the announcement, IGMA had been advised in mid-May that the PTPACC would not be recommending the additional reference, but gave no reason for the deferral to the next code cycle. Webb explained that the PTPACC meetings are closed to the public and the minutes from the meetings are unavailable to the public, which is why she and Wakefield returned to the CCBFC in June.

“While members of the CCBFC stated their support for the reference, attendees at the meeting were advised that, as there is no provision in the current code process to adopt interim changes, our request cannot go forward at this time,” stated the IGMA announcement.

According to Webb, their next move will be to go to the individual provinces and territories for adoption. She said they have already received a request from the Ontario Building Code to provide technical equivalency information on the ASTM E 2190 standard and to identify the differences between it and the CGSB 12.8 standard.

“Ontario has 40 percent of the construction industry in Canada and is one of the few provinces with its own building code,” said Webb.

IGMA said the CCBFC and PTPACC are currently reviewing the past code cycle to establish procedures that will be more responsive to interim changes and standard harmonization efforts in the future.

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