16 CFR 1305.5 - Findings.
(a) The degree and nature of the risk of injury. The Commission finds that the risk of injury which this regulation is designed to eliminate or reduce is from cancer, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Measurements are not available of the amounts of asbestos in the air from asbestos-containing emberizing materials in homes. However, it appears that the amount of airborne asbestos in such homes would increase when air currents in the home are created by downdrafts from a fireplace chimney or other activities that stir air in any room. Since emberizing materials may contain up to 50 percent asbestos, which if not permanently bound into artificial fireplace logs would be in respirable form, the risk associated with emberizing materials is considerable, especially since it continues to exist 24 hours a day.
(b) Products subject to the ban. Artificial emberizing materials are decorative simulated ashes or embers, used in certain gas-buring fireplace systems, which glow to give the appearance of real burning embers. The material is sprinkled on or glued to gas logs, or sprinkled on fireplace floors.
(c) Need of the public for the products and effects of the rule on their utility, cost, and availability. Artificial fireplace emberizing material serves a strictly decorative purpose and does not materially affect the actual performance of the fireplace gas system in terms of its ability to provide heat. A certain degree of aesthetic desirability exists, however, since the product “system” itself (the gas log, ashes, and embers) is intended to simulate burning wooden logs. Gas logs may be sold with artificial emberizing material attached at the factory (the log commonly referred to as being “frosted”), or with the “embers” in a separate kit, often mixed with simulated “ashes.” Virtually all gas logs are either frosted or packaged with an emberizing kit; however, the majority of gas logs produced in 1977 were packaged with non-asbestos-containing emberizing kits. The Commission estimates annual sales of artificial gas logs at approximately 100,000 units. Some 25,000-30,000 of these would be subject to the ban. Approximately 100,000 gas logs frosted or treated by consumers with asbestos are estimated to be in existence. The Commission believes that the majority of gas logs are sold with emberizing kits; this gives the consumer a choice as to whether or not to use the artificial embers and ashes.
(1) Utility. Manufacturers of artificial gas log emberizing material are currently using four substitutes for asbestos in their products: vermiculite, rock wool, mica, and a synthetic fiber. None of the four is claimed to be as aesthetically effective as asbestos. Thus, the utility derived by consumers from some gas-burning fireplace systems may be adversely affected.
(2) Cost. No effect on the overall price level of gas logs is anticipated as a result of the ban. The average price of emberizing kits may rise somewhat; the Commission estimates the total price effect of the ban on consumers at under $25,000.
(3) Availability. The Commission believes that all producers of artificial emberizing material will have eliminated asbestos from their products by the time the ban becomes effective. No significant impact on the availability of asbestos substitutes to producers nor on the availability of gas logs or emberizing kits to retail dealers and consumers is expected as a result of the ban.
(d) Any means of achieving the objective of the ban while minimizing adverse effects on competition or disruption or dislocation of manufacturing and other commercial practices consistent with the public health and safety. The Commission believes that there will be minimal disruption to the market for artificial emberizing materials as a consequence of the ban and that no further reduction in adverse effects is feasible.