Field Research to Provide Deeper Look at Spray-Foam Risks
Exposure to MDI in spray foam is a known risk, but what about other chemicals? And is that 24-hour re-entry period based on science?The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is asking installers to help with onsite air sampling to facilitate ongoing research of the lesser-known chemicals in spray polyurethane foam (SPF)—a product valued in energy-efficient construction for airtightness and insulating value, but which has been under a cloud of concern about .
Installers are supposed to take precautions while installing SPF because of the known health effects of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI)—a chemical that is a powerful irritant to mucous membranes, causing chemical sensitivity and asthma. However, other chemicals in the SPF mixture have not been as extensively studied and may come with exposure risks of their own.
NIOSH is attempting to fill that knowledge gap by researching the concentrations of amines, glycols, and phosphates released into the air as spray foam is installed and measuring how long they persist. In addition to lab studies, NIOSH isto allow researchers access to jobsites so that they can gather air samples.
This research may provide the basis for more comprehensive worker safety procedures and will offer more data to determine safe re-entry times. NIOSH calls the 24-hour rule of thumb now common in the construction industry “anecdotal” with “no scientific underpinning.” It may also inform the development of a new “portable spray booth” that NIOSH hopes may improve ventilation at a lower cost.
Pearson, C. (2013, September 30). Field Research to Provide Deeper Look at Spray-Foam Risks. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/field-research-provide-deeper-look-spray-foam-risks