Insulation fire safety standards are effective
Fire safety expert, Marcelo Hirschler, writing in Fire Safety & Technology Bulletin (10/2014) presents the success of US building code obligations for fire safety standards for insulation materials. Several major fires involving non-residential buildings, in which materials not compliant to US standards were used (either illegally in the US, e.g. foams purportedly used as decoration, or outside the US), have shown the dangers of non flame retardant foams.
Under US codes, foam insulation materials can only be used in construction of homes and other buildings if a fire test related to the end-use configuration has been carried out on the complete manufactured assembly. Insulation within structural areas is identified as the first ignited item in only 2% of home fires (Ahren, NFPA, 2013). US codes also require testing of the plastic foam on its own (based on ASTM E84). Mr. Hirschler underlines that this additional testing of the foam itself almost certainly improves the level of fire safety for home and building occupants.M. Ahrens, NFPA “Home structure fires”, April 2013 http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fires-by-property-type/residential/home-structure-fires
FSTB Fire Safety & Technology Bulletin, GBH International http://www.gbhinternational.com/images/bulletin.pdf