HC Deb 02 December 1975 vol 901 cc534-5W
Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what research has been carried out by the Fire Research Station into polystyrene.

Mr. Freeson

The Station has carried out extensive tests to examine the fire hazards presented by the use of expanded polystyrene linings and tiles, particularly in domestic situations. A number of technical reports have been published, and guidance notes have been issued on the precautions to be followed in the installation and use of polystyrene ceiling tiles in kitchens and living rooms. Some work has also been carried out on much thicker tiles and on polystyrene slabs as used in industrial buildings.

The building industry uses polystyrene as a core material in partitions and concrete walls, and as a permanent "former" in concrete floors. Experimental investigations have been undertaken for various industrial organisations, and safe techniques have been evolved for its use. Polystyrene is not regarded as representing an exceptional fire hazard, but precautions are necessary during construction and in some conditions of exposure to prevent ignition since the material once ignited will burn freely, particularly if additional combustible material is present.