EPA Takes Action on Spray-Foam Health Risk Peter Yost
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new action plan for chemicals used in spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation. Isocyanates, such as MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate), are highly reactive chemicals that can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation, asthma, and chemical sensitization when absorbed through the skin or inhaled.
When SPF is applied on a job site, both the ingredients and the byproducts of the process involve potentially toxic emissions that require protective measures for workers as well as any occupants. This is not news: worker protection protocols and quality assurance programs for SPF installation were developed by the SPF industry decades ago. Why the fuss now?
“There has been an increase in recent years in promoting the use of foams and sealants by do-it-yourself energy-conscious homeowners, and many people may now be unknowingly exposed to risks from these chemicals,” Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, told EBN. You can add to that a growing number of complaints about adverse health effects from homeowners and occupants of office buildings where SPF has been applied during energy retrofits.