Could Isocyanates from the Application of Spray Polyurethane Foam Cause Indoor Environmental Concerns?
Clark Seif Clark provides indoor air quality services to detect airborne pollutants that could cause issues and concerns for building occupants.
The indoor environmental quality professionals at CSC provide air testing and monitoring services for isocyanates and other airborne pollutants.
Across California and the Southwest, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) has become a popular alternative to other forms of insulation in homes and buildings due to its excellent insulating properties. In many applications, SPF also has the ability to protect against moisture, fill cracks and crevices, and works well to reduce airborne sounds in urban areas.
There are several types of spray polyurethane foam. The material is applied as a chemical reaction between two components takes place as the materials exit an applicator nozzle. A foam is formed that is sprayed onto a surface that then begins to cure.
With SPF’s increasing popularity, there have also been concerns over exposure to the chemicals used in the materials. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, “SPF is an effective insulation and air sealant material; however, exposures to its key ingredient, isocyanates such as “MDI,” and other SPF chemicals that may be found in vapors, aerosols, dust or on surfaces during and for a period of time after installation may cause adverse health effects such as asthma. Therefore, steps to control exposures and safety tips should be followed.”
Isocyanates are chemical substances that are known to be powerful irritants. “To prevent exposure to isocyanates during and after installation, SPF applicators should use best practices,” said Franco Seif, President of Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “This may includes vacating building occupants during the application process, providing appropriate ventilation, isolating the work site to prevent chemicals from spreading to other areas, cleaning the worksite when finished to prevent the spread of particles and dusts, and ensuring that the material has properly cured before others are allowed to re-enter the area. For those who are sensitized to isocyanates, even low concentrations of isocyanates can trigger an asthma attack or other lung effects.”
The indoor environmental quality professionals at CSC provide air testing and monitoring services for isocyanates and other airborne pollutants. These services can be beneficial during construction and for preoccupancy testing. Testing can also be useful even months later if people who have been sensitized to isocyanates live or work in the building. CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about SPF and chemical exposure concerns that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/9qswClQ4gxo
To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit www.csceng.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 807-1118.
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address environmental, IAQ, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.
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