WASHINGTON—Federal regulators, plastic venting-pipe makers and the home heating industry apparently have reached an agreement that will replace high-temperature plastic heating-vent pipes linked to carbon monoxide leaks.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the high-temperature plastic venting pipe industry are set to announce the agreement in several weeks, culminating more than 18 months of investigation by the CPSC.
Media reports have linked faulty HTPV pipes to several deaths in the United States, and Canadian regulators banned the pipes in 1995.
``There is a program ... which will lead to the replacement of HTPV pipe systems,'' said Mike Marcy, public affairs coordinator for Chevron Chemical Co. in San Ramon, Calif.
Chevron — whose Bensenville, Ill.-based Plexco Division made HTPV pipes until 1994 — has joined other manufacturers to pay for the program, he said.
Chevron and other officials involved in the talks could not provide details.
HTPV pipes were installed in homes from 1987-93, CPSC said. Some estimates said as many as 300,000 homes had the pipe installed. Eljer Industries Inc. of Dallas and Hart & Cooley Inc. of Holland, Mich., have also made the pipes.
Chevron said GE Plastics of Pittsfield, Mass., brought the problem to its attention in early 1994. GE officials told Chevron they had reports of corrosion or cracking in pipes of Plexco competitors, Marcy said. Chevron introduced Plexco pipes with an Amoco resin in June 1994.
But GE officials said in a press release there is no evidence to suggest problems with HTPV are resin-related.
``Field investigations by Hart & Cooley and [Underwriters Laboratories Inc.] have shown that the majority of field failures are related to poor installation,'' the release said.
GE does not design the vent pipes or specify end uses, and the resin meets Underwriters Laboratories standards and applicable building codes, the firm said.
Chevron established a toll-free number, issued product alerts and brought the matter to the attention of the CPSC, Marcy said.