EPA Takes Action on Spray-Foam Health Risks – BuildingGreen.com.
EPA Takes Action on Spray-Foam Health Risk Peter Yost
Icynene’s open-cell spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation is among the SPF industry products under scrutiny by EPA and others.
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.
In a review of existing evidence on the health value of fixes to housing, researchers say that improving buildings to enhance “thermal comfort” – with central heating or insulation, for instance – pays off in both physical and mental well-being.
“I think the main message is that housing improvement can improve health, especially if it’s warmth and energy improvements targeting people with respiratory illnesses,” said Hilary Thomson, the study’s lead author from the Medical Research Council in Glasgow, UK.
Several studies have tied poor housing conditions to poor health, but there are some questions about the quality of evidence for that link, according to Thomson and her colleagues.
How healthy is your home? or perhaps better… how healthy is your entire home lifestyle? I have researched thousands of articles, blog posts, white papers, books and websites studying the concept of sustainable, ‘green’, safe and healthy homes. I’ve seen the impact unhealthy choices have had on people, families, neighborhoods, communities and our environment through research and stories told. I’ve been appalled at the ‘green washing’ efforts the public is facing from the media which is only adding more confusion to the question of what is true, who can be trusted for a consolidated collection of information of the best path to healthy living. I am committed to providing an honest introduction to the concepts of living in healthy homes.
Most of us can agree on what makes a home unhealthy. Poor indoor air quality, mold, lead or radon in a home etc. But each definition of what is a healthy home should be self-constructed because each persons efforts and vision may differ, but I believe in order to make educated decisions we must first know what questions to ask in order to define our vision and awareness of what is a healthy homes.
This blog is my effort to share my knowledge, thoughts and resources with homeowners who are unsure about where to begin on making your home (present of future) healthy. It can be so overwhelming.
Many choices were made for you from the previous owners of your home who were stewards of the home. Or they were made by the developers who built your home and who (along with the architect and designer) made so many of the choices of the components that make up the house. They made decisions related to healthy living whether they framed the decision matrix in this light or not. In some cases they did and in others I am sure they did not.
This blog will also focus on current (or future) homeowners who continues to make maintenance decisions or improvements decisions which may unknowingly be having a harmful effect on your health without you knowing it. This is where the awareness factors is brought to light for readers or followers.
To me as an architect who makes material choices for renovated or newly built homes I know the consequences are very real on many levels. As I continued to watch designers and builders make the choices many of them are making, I became committed to publishing a message that these poor choices have consequences. This hopefully will be a wakeup for someone who will take the message to heart and take small steps (or large) to make their homes and neighborhood healthier and safe places to live.
The Gramata Realty Group
2214 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60614
Posted in Air Quality, Dryness, Global Sustainabliity, Healthy Communities, Healthy Construction, Healthy Homes, Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ), Maintenance, Toxins, Ventilation
Tagged building, communities, construction, environment, geo-thermal, gradually, green, green building energy efficiency, green homes, Health, healthy, healthy homes, healthy homes chicago, Home, homes, mechanicals, science, solar, sustainable, systems, wind
See on Scoop.it – Chicago healthy homes
Healthy Memphis: Keep moving all day to avoid ‘sitting disease’Memphis Commercial AppealIn contrast, other jobs require frequent movement, such as mail carriers, construction workers, stay-at-home parents, athletes and yoga teachers.
Jim Gramata‘s insight:
Oh crap, this is not good considering my long days at the desk, but I had to post. Get up and move around at work, become a postal carrier or yoga instructor….
See on www.commercialappeal.com