Childrens EPA – Nancy Swan and SPF Dangers

Here is a blog post from Nancy Swan, Director of Children’s Environmental Protection Alliance known as Children’s EPA

Proposed Connecticut House Bill 5908 -To protect the health and safety of spray foam insulation installers and their customers,

Introduced by: General Law Committee,  referred by House to Committee on the Environment on April 4, 2013
To monitor status of this Bill: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB05908&which_year=2013
Proposed Connecticut House Bill 5908: an act concerning safety and certification standards for the spray Foam Insulation Industry.
Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Spray on Foam roofing and insulation industry has been named by the US EPA and major health organizations as responsible for injuring schoolchildren, employees, and homeowners for more than thirty years, yet no state or federal government has succeeded in regulating this powerful and reckless industry.
The SPF industry continues to exploit a regulatory loophole which causes tens of thousands of injuries and deaths – each year.  Storage of deadly chemicals and their use in the manufacture of products and safety of employees is regulated only in manufacturing facilities.  However, SPF are transported off-site where manufacture of the foam takes place in individual homes, businesses, day cares, and schools.
Odd as it may seem,  SPF applicators are not required to be certified in the safe storage, manufacture or application of one of the most deadly chemicals manufactured – isocyanate. SPF sellers are too eager to make a profit and applicators are “intermediaries.”
The Intermediary Defense is a legal term used to manipulate the judge and confuse juries by pointing the finger of blame at each other- the manufacture or the applicator- so that neither is held accountable for injuries.
As a result the failure to regulate the SPF industry, innocent consumers and inhabitants of these buildings are not warned of the known and potential health dangers caused by SPF, no first aid is provided, and injury and death end up drawn out in civil court for sometimes fifteen or more years, like my case.
Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) roofing, Spray on Foam roofing and insulation, and Spray on Foam sealant have been heavily marketed to school boards around the world for the last 30 years as a “green solution.”   A bill has been introduced in Connecticut to regulate the use of Spray on Foam products.
Get involved:
  • If you live in Connecticut, call your lawmaker to support CT H. B. 5908.
  • If you live outside Connecticut, write a letter in support of federal SPF regulation to President Obama using the CT Bill 5908.
  • Ask national and state health and environment organization to fax a letter of support to CT House Committee on the Environment.
http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91060&sitesection=WTIC_hom_non_fro&VID=24462819
Spray on Foam products may help to reduce energy consumption BUT SPF increases a children’s exposure to deadly, asthma causing, and cancer-causing chemicals.
Spray on Foam is a dangerous product which if properly or improperly applied, cured, and maintained can seriously injury or kill you or your child.
The terms “Green” and “Green solution” are not regulated by USA and most other countries, and therefore have no useful meaning to school boards or to the consumer.  “Green” and “Green solution” are product and advertiser hype words only.
Sale and use of this product needs to be tightly regulated throughout the USA and other countries.

Spray on Foam products seriously and permanently injured me and more than two dozen children at the school where I had been teaching.   Toxic Justice – Nancy Swan

This tragedy is happening in every city and thousands of schools across the USA.
How can you prevent this product from harming you or your child?
After watching the following video, please visit http://www.childrensepa.org/
Bill to regulate Spray on Foam use in Connecticut http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91060&sitesection=WTIC_hom_non_fro&VID=24462819
Tags: SPF, Spray Polyurethane Foam, SPF Insulation, Spray On Foam, Spray On Foam Roofing, Spray on Foam Sealant, Spray on Foam products, School Board, Brain damage, Asthma, Green Solution, Green, Connecticut, WTIC, Homeowners, insulation, Children’s EPA, Toxic Justice, legislation, environment, health, children’s health, asthma, brain damage, respiratory irritant, cancer, American Chemical Council, EPA, CDC, Connecticut, H. B. 5908, chemical safety, OSHA, FEMA, NIOSH, CDC

Well Documeted SPF Concerns/Dangers from Passive House

I found this in PHIUS Tech Corner, June, 2012; Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation

Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation and Passive House.
How SPF is made
In order to create SPF insulation in large quantities under high pressure, a chemical
reaction of the two component parts, commonly referred to as “Side A” and “Side B”, has to occur. In commercial SPF systems, the A and B sides are mixed in a 1:1 volumetric ratio [1]. In large-scale applications, these two components are typically stored separately in 55 gallon drums.
Side A contains chemicals known as isocyanates. Side B primarily contains a polyol,
which reacts with isocyanates to make urethane. The most common isocyanate compound used in SPF is methylene diphenyl diisocyanates (MDI) [2].
Side B is a proprietary blend of chemicals in addition to the polyol that allow formulators to
tailor the performance properties of the final polyurethane. Other materials contained in Side B
normally include [2]:
• Blowing agents
• Flame retardants
• Amine or metal catalysts
• Surfactants
Since Side B is a proprietary blend of chemicals, the identity of some of these chemicals
is not known, nor are the proportions, except to the manufacturers and formulators. The best available information indicates that the flame retardant most commonly used in spray
polyurethane foam insulation is TCPP (Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate) (1). TCPP is
combined with a reactive brominated compound to form a polymeric brominated flame retardant
[1]. TDCPP (Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate) is also used as a flame retardant.
In small applications, when pressurized 16 oz. cans are used, the SPF components are
pre-mixed in controlled amounts along with a propellant. However, some “do-it-yourselfer”
supplies now come in the separate two part formulations, typically in 5lb, 10lb, 40lb, or greater, low pressure cylinders.
SPFs made with soy or other natural or bio-based ingredients
SPF is made primarily from petroleum derived chemicals. Some SPF may be advertised
as being “green”, “natural” or, “environmentally friendly”, due to having been partially made
from natural ingredients, such as soy bean oil, castor oil, and other bio-based oils, etc. However, these oils may only be a low percentage of the Side B mixture and still be advertised as green ornatural [15]. Current technology limits the use of natural oil polyols to about 1/3 of the total polyols, as excessive use of natural oils can affect the dimensional stability of SPF [1].
Typically, the balance of the polyol used in Side B is still petroleum derived, as are the
isocyanates in Side A – 50% of the total mixture.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed new regulations
requiring at least 51% of the total product formulation be from natural ingredients in order for a product to be called bio-based [16]. If finalized, this new regulation would prevent SPF from being labeled “bio-based”.

It then goes on to mention…

Human health/indoor air quality concerns with SPF
There can be health risks from exposure to isocyanates and some of the other ingredients,
used to manufacture SPF insulation [4], [2], [5]. The primary health risks are from exposure
during the installation stage while the foam insulation is being sprayed [4], [2], [5]. Health risks are of most concern for spray foam workers, and possibly other workers in the spraying area, especially if they are not properly protected [4], [2], [5].
However, homeowners or building occupants may also be at risk if certain precautions
are not taken [4], [2], [5]. More recently, there have been reports from homeowners of incorrect installations of spray foam that have triggered health problems and indoor odor issues [17], [18].
Researchers and manufacturers are looking into these incidents as well as currently investigating any long-term health effects associated with the product [1].
Isocyanates, the primary ingredient in SPF, are well known inhalation and dermal
“sensitizers” that can trigger a severe or fatal asthma attack in some people who become
sensitized, even at very low levels [2]. A sensitizing chemical is one that after multiple repeat exposures, may cause the human body to react in an abnormal or over-reactive way, even to extremely low doses, when initial exposures may not have had an impact. The more the body is exposed to the chemical the more it has a negative reaction to it. In some cases, certain individuals can quickly become sensitized to these types of chemicals such that there are no safe levels of exposure [2], [19].
Isocyanates are the leading attributable cause of work-place related asthma [2], [19]. SPF
insulation also contains potentially hazardous amine catalysts, blowing agents, flame retardants and other constituents [2].
With the widespread and increasing use of SPF insulation, unnecessary exposure for SPF
applicators and other trade workers or other building occupants (e.g., homeowners, children, office workers, etc.) may occur if proper precautions are not taken during the spray applications and shortly after.
While applying SFP, aerosols and vapors are generated that can be inhaled or come in
contact with the eyes or skin. Potential sensitization may occur through exposures on the skin as well as through inhalation [2]. Individuals, in particular installers of SPF as well as
homeowners, with a history of skin conditions, respiratory allergies, asthma, or prior isocyanate sensitization should carefully review product information when considering the use of SPF products and may want to consider other insulation alternatives. This especially applies to high pressure applications but also to low pressure applications. With low pressure applications,which mechanically mix the A and B side chemicals inside a nozzle, instead of impingement mixing of aerosolized chemicals in high-pressure foams, the amount of vapors and aerosols tends to be lower, but they are still generated during installation [1].
Manufacturers who have prepared complete and accurate SPF Material Safety Data
Sheets (MSDS) typically recommend in the MSDS that individuals undergo medical surveillance prior to working with these materials, and individuals with a history of medical conditions such as asthma, be restricted from working with isocyanates [20].
The following were noted in the 2006 National Institutes of Occupational Safety and
Health (NIOSH) Alert — Preventing Asthma and Death from MDI Exposure during Truck Bed Liner and Related Applications [19]. NIOSH issued this, and a 1996 Alert, in follow up to worker deaths after exposure to isocyanate containing polyurethane automobile paint and exposure to isocyanates in polyurethane foam manufacturing. NIOSH concluded that the
potential for exposure to isocyanates from spraying polyurethane foam insulation is very similar to these prior incidents [19].
• “Isocyanates have been reported to be the leading attributable chemical cause of work-related asthma,.
• Exposure to isocyanates can cause contact dermatitis, skin and respiratory tract irritation, sensitization,
and asthma.
• Both skin and inhalation exposures can lead to respiratory responses.
• Isocyanates can cause “sensitization,” which means that some people may become allergic to isocyanates
and could experience allergic reactions including: itching and watery eyes, skin rashes, asthma, and
other breathing difficulties. Symptoms may also be delayed up to several hours after exposure. If you are allergic or become sensitized, even low concentrations of isocyanates can trigger a severe asthma attack or other lung effects, or a potentially fatal reaction.
• Some workers who become sensitized to isocyanates are subject to severe asthma attacks if they are exposed again. Death from severe asthma in some sensitized persons has been reported.
• Sensitization may result from either a single exposure to a relatively high concentration or repeated exposures to lower concentrations over time.
• Even if you do not become sensitized to isocyanates, they may still irritate your skin and lungs, and many years of exposure can lead to permanent lung damage and respiratory problems.
• All skin contact should be avoided since contact with skin may lead to respiratory sensitization or cause other allergic reactions.
• Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be used during all activities that may present exposure to any isocyanate compounds to avoid sensitization.”
As mentioned above, Side B contains a blend of proprietary chemicals that provide unique
properties to the foam, and may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Given this, it is
difficult to precisely identify all potential health effects of the Side B components, but the
following is reported [2].
• Catalysts may be amine or metal catalysts. Amine catalysts in SPF can be sensitizers and irritants that can cause blurry vision (halo-effect) [21], [22].
• Flame retardants, such as halogenated compounds, can be persistent, bioaccumulative, and/or toxic chemicals (PBTs). Some examples include:
 TCPP -(Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate)  TEP -(Triethyl phosphate)
 TDCPP (Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate)
• Blowing agents may have adverse health effects, as well as be green house gases.
• Some surfactants may be linked to endocrine disruption [2].
Recently, the State of California released a study indicating that TDCPP has a carcinogenic
effect in laboratory test rats [23].
Potential for exposure to these chemicals
Exposures to SPF chemicals may occur through a variety of ways depending on whether it
is the SPF applicator(s) and other workers, or the owner or resident of a building that is being SPF insulated.  When SPF installation is ongoing, the work site should be restricted to only trained persons wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) [4], [2], [5]. NIOSH (and the industry represented by CPI and SPFA) recommend that PPE for SPF workers include [4], [19]:
• Full-face supplied-air respirator (with a pump/filter/hose supplying fresh air).
• Face mask, with a peel-off shield for clear visibility as foam aerosols will coat the mask
after a duration of spraying.
• Full body suit and chemical-resistant gloves and boots.
• All exposed skin must be fully covered.
• A ventilation system to ventilate the work area, during and after spraying.
• NIOSH also recommends a containment structure or enclosure for the area where
spraying is occurring.
During spraying, vapors and aerosols of isocyanates and the other components are
generated. Research data indicate that inhalation exposures without PPE to isocyanates during
SPF installation will typically exceed OSHA occupational exposure limits (OELs) [19]. In
addition, vapors and aerosols can migrate through a building if the spray area is not isolated and properly ventilated. After application, vapors may linger in a building until properly ventilated.
This supports current practice to vacate the premises during installation and for a specified
period of time following installation.
Cutting or trimming the foam after it hardens may generate dust and particles that contain
unreacted isocyanates and other chemicals [2]. After application, foam dust may linger in a
building until properly ventilated and thoroughly vacuumed.
Unprotected (without PPE) homeowners or residents should not be present when a high
pressure foam application is ongoing in the house. A homeowner or resident could also be
exposed to isocyanates and the other chemicals if they re-enter the structure too soon after application [2], [24], [25].
Another important factor relating to the potential exposure to isocyanates and the other
components is the time it takes for the SPF to cure. Curing of SPF means that the chemicals in the product are reacting to produce polyurethane foam. SPF may appear hardened or “tack-free within a range of a few seconds to a few minutes after application. However, at this stage, the foam is still curing and still contains unreacted SPF chemicals and may still be off-gassing these
chemicals [2].
Some estimates indicate that it can take approximately 24-72 hours after application for
the foam to fully cure for the two-component high pressure “professional” SPF systems, and approximately 8 to 24 hours to cure for one component foam available in the small cans, but more research is needed to account for the potential variability of curing rates. [4], [2], [5]
The curing time may vary depending on the type of SPF product (open or closed cell),
product formulation, applicator technique, foam thickness, temperature, humidity and other factors, which will impact re-occupancy time. Temperature and humidity play a critical roll in the curing of SPF ingredients as does proper installation (applicator training, technique and maintenance and quality of the equipment that is used). More research is needed to understand the role these variables play in future potential off-gassing.
A homeowner who is erroneously advised they can stay in a house without PPE while the
SPF is being installed, can be exposed to unhealthful levels of the spray foam chemicals. Or, if they return to the house too soon after spraying, may also be exposed to high levels. Likewise, ifsomething went wrong during the installation and the foam has yet to cure, or never does fully cure, then exposures can also occur when the home is re-occupied.
The US EPA states, if home or building occupants have concerns that they may be
exposed to residual SPF chemicals, potential off-gassing, or continue to smell odors, they should contact their SPF contractor to ensure proper procedures and clean-up were followed [2]. If their concerns are not resolved, affected parties should contact their local or state consumer protection office or contractors’ licensing board. Consumers can also file an online Consumer Product Incident Report with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the SaferProducts.govwebsite [2].
Additional pathways of exposure to SPF chemicals for homeowners and residents, as
well as workers, after the foam insulation is installed may include heat-generating processes such as drilling, welding, soldering, grinding, sawing, or sanding on or near SPF insulation [2]. This may generate a range of airborne degradation chemicals including isocyanates, amines, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, or nitrogen oxides [2]. These potential releases raise possible concerns for future renovations, alterations and even demolition.
Fires involving SPF may release isocyanates, hydrogen cyanide, amines, and other highly
toxic chemicals into the air. Fire departments have issued advisories and require the use of full supplied air respirators for firefighters when fighting fires with burning polyurethane foam insulation.

Reported problems with the use of SPF
Since 2009, homeowners or others have been reporting spray polyurethane foam
insulation problems to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) [17]. A review of the
reporting at the time this article was written, reveals there have been at least six cases reported to CPSC where homeowners have become sick after installation of SPF insulation in their homes
[17].
A recent paper in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported the
first documented case of SPF isocyanate-induced asthma in two otherwise healthy homeowners
who were allowed to return to their home too soon after the attic was spray foamed [25].
There are also numerous other reports of spray foam off-gassing causing health problems
on consumer-sponsored spray foam websites and in green building blogs [26], [18], [27]. Health
effects such as headaches, chest pains, eye, and throat irritation, rashes and coughs and asthmalike
symptoms are reported.
Lingering, irritating odors that smell sweet, fishy with a chemical-like or ammonia-like
aroma that won’t dissipate, even with extended ventilation, have been complaints in a number of these cases. The SPF industry attributes lingering odors to the amine catalysts [1].
In some cases, homeowners or residents who reported having no respiratory problems or
symptoms prior to the foam installation, reported they began experiencing burning throats,
irritated eyes, difficulty breathing and other various symptoms immediately after, or within a day or two after, foam installation when they re-entered their house. In some cases, the homeowners or residents indicated they experienced a relief of the symptoms after they spent time away from their homes. Some homeowners reported having to move out of their homes because of the
concern for their health. In a growing number of cases, homeowners report having the spray
foam insulation completely removed from their homes in an attempt to remediate the situation
and to be able to return to their house [18], [27].
The cause of these incidents is unclear. Although more evidence needs to be gathered to
determine patterns and commonalities between the cases, the most likely cause of problems with
the SPF insulation is an incorrect installation since industry representatives have data to show
that when SPF insulation is properly formed and it has fully cured, there is no residual offgassing
of any of the chemical components. In some instances of improper installation, the SPF
manufacturer has, or is initiating, the removal of installed SPF insulation as a way to remediate
the odors and health concerns of homeowners.
As discussed above, numerous variables can affect whether high pressure SPF insulation
installation is done correctly, and most of these variables are controlled by the SPF installation
contractors on-site at the time of application.
It is important to note installing SPF insulation in a house or building is an on-site
chemical manufacturing process in a location that will be occupied shortly thereafter (by workers or owners), and continuously for years on end. If anything goes wrong during the process the effects are experienced on-site, rather than at a factory as with other insulations. There has been discussion on a green building website that with an incorrect SPF installation, the chemical ingredients of the foam can even be absorbed by the building materials with which it comes into contact [18].
The most likely variable that is leading to these incidents is human error. Human errors
in knowledge and performance, which can lead to incorrect mixtures of the chemical
components, incorrect temperatures and pressures during the spraying, poorly maintained spray equipment, equipment, or spraying when ambient temperatures or building substrates are too cold, or humidity is too high for a proper chemical reaction and proper curing. One error that has been reported is applying too thick of a layer of SPF in one pass. The proper procedure for applying closed cell foam insulation is to spray 2 inch (maximum thickness) layers, allow time to cure, and then applying additional 2 inch (maximum thickness) layers if more insulation has been specified. In one reported case an entire 6-8 inch layer of closed cell foam was applied at once by the applicator who did not follow the recommended application procedures provided by the SPF manufacturer.
In addition, there have been reports of house fires spontaneously starting after the
installation of SPF due to excessive heat build-up from the exothermic reaction of the foam.

To view this article in its entirety see PHIUS_Spray_Polyurethane_Passive_Houses-2

 

Article from 475: Reason Foam Fails #2: Unacceptable Fire Hazard

475 High Performance Building Supply has released another article based on dangers of spray foam insulation.  This is the second article of many more to come from Ken at 475.  Fires and foam are deadly, even more deadly than any other insulation.  This begs us to question once again why anyone can consider SPF a ‘green, healthy’ product.

Reason Foam Fails #2: Unacceptable Fire Hazard

Posted on December 26, 2012 by 475Ken

Is it really too much to ask that our thermal insulation not be a fire accelerant?   After all, thermal insulation can (and should) continuously and completely envelop the buildings we occupy.    Foam feeds fires.   Foam fails.

See full article here

Thanks Safer Chemicals Healthy Families for your Action Against TDCPP

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families is keeping the ball moving with its new article about Dow Chemical and Chlorinated Tris in our couches… consider asking Dow to stop making these chemicals. Read the article :

When will Dow Chemical get off the toxic couch?

Why this is important to spray foam homes: SPF homes are COVERED with TDCPP - Same Flame Retardant in Toxic Couches is in SPF

Chlorinated tris is also used in spray foam insulation, which is also similar to your couch foam. The amount of spray foam in a home is huge compared to your couch= too much tris in home.
Homes are showing high levels of TDCPP in air tests from spray foam homes. This is a huge concern, but one that is overlooked because the spray foam companies market their product as inert (which means nothing by definition in ingredient terminology). The chlorinated tris leaches out of the Spray foam during install, while curing (some foams never fully cure which equals high chemical off gassing for life of product – yuk), and for the life of the foam. Even if the spray foam is in your walls or attic, the tris from shaved or touched or broken or degraded foam becomes airborne and attached to dust as it moves around your home. So…your kids, dog and yourself touch it, eat it and breath it. Spray foam also off-gases a toxic soup of other known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, ect ect. Before using this ‘great green’ toxic building material, please do your own research.

Excerpt from the new article by By Mike Belliveau, Senior Strategist, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

“…In the recent science studies, TDCPP was found in 42% of all couches, more often than any other flame retardant chemical, and in 100% of household dust samples. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers TDCPP a hazard for “cancer, reproductive harm, developmental toxicity, systemic toxicity, and genotoxicty in humans; and ecotoxicity and environmental persistence.”  Last year, California concluded that TDCPP was known to cause cancer…”

 

 

 

Letter to EPA from Mr. Miller and Mr. Bloom

June 22, 2012

Steve Owens
Assistant Administrator
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20004
Dear Mr. Owens:

We are private practice indoor air quality professionals with over 75 years of professional experience in indoor air quality, materials science, industrial hygiene and related fields between us. We practice in distinct geographical areas (metropolitan Washington, DC and Texas). One of us is a former EPA professional (Gold and Bronze medals) and has been recognized throughout his forty year professional career by EPA, NASA, and others. The other is a CIH with, among other environmental credentials, over thirty years experience as an environmental consultant. He has been an active member of the AIHA IEQ committee since 1985 and is a recent past chair of the committee. He has worked with isocyanates and polyurethane products for over 30 years and is very familiar with their potent sensitizing and toxic properties.

We are both known as people who do their homework.

Nature and importance of problem

We are writing to alert you to and to emphasize the potentially dire consequences to the public when industrial products and processes such as contractor sprayed (not DIY-applied) PUF are misapplied to residential structures by ill-educated, untrained individuals with no comprehension of the sophisticated chemistry and toxicity of the materials they use. The stochastic chemistry of urethanes is hard enough to control in a relatively stable industrial environment. The idea that this can be routinely safely applied under highly variable conditions in the field by untrained individuals begs belief. In fact, EPA professionals working on this problem are already aware of PUF applications that have caused residents to vacate their homes due to chemical exposures and subsequent development of sensitivities.

We wish comment on your agency’s approach to this problem. At the outset we acknowledge and respect the work of EPA professionals and the interagency group that is attempting to address this topic. We think there is more work to do which we address below.

Given the enormous problems for homeowners of failed sprayed PUF applications, there are some people who think that PUF should be prohibited for inside use because the consequence of failure is catastrophic. The chemical companies know that application failures have been catastrophic and, to be fair, are trying to upgrade spray contractor performance.

Nevertheless, and this is a gross understatement, American spray foam contractors are the weak link in the safety chain. Often, these folks lack the knowledge, discipline, and intent to carry out such processes properly. Insulation contractors are not generally inclined (for financial and other reasons) to avoid spraying inside attics and walls where the practice might be unwise or in violation of manufacturer requirements. It is true that the chemical industry is actively educating its customers. At the same time it is also true that the chemical industry has also taken a hands-off position with respect to failures. The chemical manufacturers have placed all the liability on the spray contractor, as the following language, taken from a prominent chemical firm, illustrates.

LIMITED WARRANTY INFORMATION-PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:

The information herein is to assist customers in determining whether our products are suitable for their applications. Our products are only intended for sale to industrial and commercial customers. Customer assumes full responsibility for quality control testing and determination of suitability of products for its intended application or use. We warrant that our products will meet our written liquid component specifications. We make no other warranty of any kind, either express or implied, by fact or law including any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Out total liability and customers’ exclusive remedy for all proven claims is replacement of nonconforming product and in no event shall we be liable for any other damages. [underlining added]

Many spray foam jobs may go well but those that do not are catastrophic to homeowners. To be clear, this is what failure means to affected homeowners:

  1. Loss of a place to live because they are displaced by serious health effects and odors
  2. Health problems – not necessarily transient (“sensitization”, including adults and children, are part of that health risk constellation.
  3. Costs of attempted remedies (many tens of thousands of $)
  4. Loss of substantial home equity
  5. Huge anxieties from uncertainties – loss of the safety of home and uncertainty as to when one can, if ever, return to it.

Remediation efforts are hugely expensive and presently uncertain of outcome. A short list of actions taken by individual homeowners includes:

  1. Complete removal and replacement of roof and attic
  2. Ongoing exhaust ventilation of attic with huge energy bills for years
  3. Expensive and uncertain vacuuming and cleaning of all surfaces and possessions (several thousand dollars per day for days)
  4. Discarding of entire HVAC systems and ductwork
  5. Tearing down a house and thinking through the need to prevent adjacent houses from becoming contaminated by PUF dusts during teardown

This list of actions is not cherry-picked for exaggeration. Please bear in mind that the costs of remediation are borne by homeowners who may, or may not, recover their costs in subsequent tort actions.

EPA Current Emphasis

We recognize that EPA recognizes the importance of preventing PUF failures. Many technical reasons presented by federal agencies in the past 18 months detail the importance of prevention. The chemical industry has developed a significant document that may be defining a standard of care for prevention of harm to workers and homeowners. The agency’s Design for the Environment program is very useful in presenting some of this information.

But, problem prevention does not only mean installing foam correctly, although that is crucial. Prevention also has to mean not installing foams in inappropriate spaces or under incorrect conditions. Informed homeowners have to be able to decide whether to risk their home to achieve PUF benefits. This is a values decision that depends on fair and complete information. Part of the federal prevention message to homeowners should include advice about seeking third party professional evaluation as to whether their home is suitable for such application. Prevention messages should include the idea that PUF is not the only means for achieving homeowner’s desired goals. We also think that homeowners need to know that PUF installations should only be done under correct conditions and in a proper manner, or serious adverse consequences may occur. The prevention message should not be tempered by agency concerns that PUF, when done right, can be a carbon footprint reducer unless the inherent risk of PUF failure is made clear.

Essential Further Work Needed

As we implied above, industrial practices inside American homes is a recipe for failure, and catastrophic failure at that. That is the basis for an EPA ban on such practices. If this seems to be a practical and political impossibility, at the very least, we could collectively attack the remediation aspect of this problem. Or, are we going to be taken to task by our successors for not working on this now?

There is a dearth of practical knowledge about how to remediate homes in which a spray contractor has failed to install the foam properly. This is understandable, given that chemical companies are permitted under current law to protect the identities of their formulations. Remediators are therefore not in a position to assure affected homeowners that particular actions intended to correct PUF failures will really do so. It puts homeowners in the difficult position of having to spend inordinate amounts of out-of-pocket money for uncertain remediations or to abandon homes they had tried to improve in the first place.

  1. The American Chemistry Council’s “Health and Safety Product Stewardship Workbook for High-Pressure Application of Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF)”
  2. Though, given our experiences, we doubt just how broadly installation practices discussed in the “Workbook” referenced above are being implemented.

We have discussed this problem with professionals at your agency, at NIOSH, and in the private sector. We conclude that there is an immediate pressing need for your agency to focus on methods for performing remediations in affected homes. This is in addition to your focus on prevention. The remediation-oriented private sector will respond to this issue on a house-by- house basis. But, the nature of the chemicals used is proprietary and best practices have not yet been collected and published by government agencies.

We propose that you convene a private sector group to work with the federal team in developing best remediation practices guidelines. In this regard we are sending a copy of this letter to Carl Grimes, the current president of the Indoor Air Quality Association. We ask you to work towards the development of a best practices guide for remediating failed PUF applications in private residences that are practical, suitable, and effective.

We have written this letter in the hope that your agency responds in practical ways to meet the needs of affected parties. Mitigation methods have to be developed. We thank you and other readers for their attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Bernard Bloom, MS, CIAQP, CIEC, www.bsea.net

Robert Miller, CIH, CIEC, CSE, CIAQP, CIAQC, www.argusenvironmental.com/

Cc: L. Jackson, Administrator, US EPAC. Grimes, President, Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) G. Fellman, Executive Director, IAQA

C. Hetfield, OPPT, US EPA

D. Rowson, Director, Indoor Environments Division, US EPA

Comments on my Petition at Change.Org – to the EPA

I started a petition to the EPA to ask Spray Foam Insulation Companies be required to fully disclose the toxic chemicals in spf.  Here are some of the comments (names removed).

Please consider signing the petition, it is important to be aware of what you are putting in your home – there are better, safer options.

Supporters Comments

Reasons for signing

  • INDIALANTIC, FL
    • about 5 hours ago
    • Liked 0

    Have personal experience, family friends, lost their home and major illness with mom and kids

  •  SPRINGFIELD, NJ
    • about 11 hours ago
    • Liked 0

    I installed spray foam insulation in my home after being led to believe it was a safe solution – safe both to my health and the environment. My house is now “sick”, smells of chemicals, and I’ve had an exacerbation of sinus and respiratory issues. The company that installed the foam never offered a single warning in writing about any issues with the foam.

  • NEW CASTLE, VA
    • about 13 hours ago
    • Liked 0

    People need to be aware of the chemicals in their home. Sensitivity to certain chemicals can be life-altering.

  •  TROUTVILLE, VA
    • about 15 hours ago
    • Liked 0

    Friends of mine got very sick and lost their home and possessions.

  • HOUSTON, TX
    • 1 day ago
    • Liked 0

    I have been personally affected by toxic chemicals in building products, and this is one of the hugest culprits.

  • SUNBURY, OH
    • 1 day ago
    • Liked 0

    This is poisoning people. My dear friend and her husband lost their “home”. They had to move out because they were being poisoned. This took a toll not only financially, but physically and mentally.

  •  CLEARWATER, FL
    • 1 day ago
    • Liked 0

    SPF is being marketed as a superior alternative to traditional insulation. In order to get the most out of its capabilities, your attic must also be a closed system, meaning no venting of outisde air through the attic. This means that all of those living in a house with SPF and a closed attic are never getting any fresh air and whatever chemicals that are present in or off-gassed by the SPF everyone is breathing. Since my rather new house has been constructed as described above, coupled with the investigations currently being conducted on the safety of SPF, and the fact that I am just starting to go through medical processes to find out what is wrong with mine and my wifes respitory system. I’d greatly appreciate any and all disclosures of potential negative effects to a human body.

  • ROCK HILL, SC
    • 2 days ago
    • Liked 0

    We installed BASF Spraytite foam. This is horrible stuff. BASF does not tell the consumers that solid amines are formed as the foam gets hot during curing. The sell to anyone such without training. BASF should be held accountable.

  • KNOXVILLE, TN
    • 2 days ago
    • Liked 0

    My brother and his family have lost their home and suffered physically and mentally due to improperly installed installation foam. Sadly there has been no support from the installer and manufacturer. As we speak additional families are having this foam installed and will too lose their home and encounter medical issues at no fault of their own.

  •  ASHEVILLE, NC
    • 2 days ago
    • Liked 0

    I have relatives whose lives were severely adversely affected by foam installation in their home. Their health was harmed, and their home was ruined.

  • dennis rothbauer BLOOMINGTON, MN
    • 2 days ago
    • Liked 0

    it has caused my wife to suffer greatly

  • , NC
    • 2 days ago
    • Liked 0

    My brother and his family have suffered health problems and were forced to leave their home in Virginia due to improperly-installed spray foam. They have received zero compensation depite losing their home and their good health. Companies MUST be forced to disclose the risks to potential customers.

  • STONY BROOK, NY
    • 2 days ago
    • Liked 0

    we are one of the victims of this product and had two air quality tests performed after the smell persisted and health problems developed, one test was done two months after the foam was installed and another four months after both showing high levels of fire retardents,blowing agents and aeresol propellents. We cannot live in our additon and we fear that the off gassing of the product is finding its way into the rest of our house. We paid for the renovation and property taxes for half a home we can’t live in.

  • CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
    • 2 days ago
    • Liked 0

    So many people think they are making a better choice because of the way companies market their products and often times it’s not the healthy choice like they think it is. People have a right to know what they bring into their homes.

  •  NEW HAVEN, CT
    • 3 days ago
    • Liked 0

    work Related Asthma

Pharos Project States Hazards of SPF

To see the article at Pharos link here

Are you worried about your spray foam insulation?

If you are concerned that your home spray foam insulation is making you feel sick or has an odor,  is crusty or too soft or irritates your eyes, throat, chest, head or gives you body aches, or are coughing while in your home, it is time to get an inspection.

Not all foam looks bad to be bad.

If you feel sick in your home and you have spray foam insulation, please contact us at foamproblem (at) gmail.com

We can provide you with referrals in your area that understand SPF.

Bette to know if your home is a bath of SPF off gassing before more damage is done.

 

 

EPA – full website of ‘warnings’ on spf

The EPA continues to tell me and other families with SPF problems that they continue to get more and more spf complaints. Many folks at the EPA that I have personally spoken with have mentioned the unknown safety of SPF. To cover their ass as they continue to allow SPF in homes, they now refer us to their ‘safety’ webpage, link here. It covers lots of ‘unknowns’

What to expect when expecting Demilec

If you have a problem or think you have a problem with Demilec SPF, this is the typical dance you will do:

1. Your contractor will tell you to call Demilec.
2. A Sales Rep may do a sight visit, will tell you very little.
3. Demilec will tell you to ventilate, you will, but when the blowers are off and it is warm out, the smell and symptoms will return.
4. If you proactively pursue it… You will be contacted by Robert Naini who will come out and take some mason jar samples and tell you the foam smells like paint or new construction.
5. Demilec may tell you your house is too tight and you need a new HVAC with fresh air exchange. Problem will still remain after you pay for a new HVAC because the chemicals are in EVERYTHING at this point.
6. You MAY get a physical property report back (they seem to like to say the ‘smell’ is normal, but if you put foam in a mason jar, you will not agree with their smell test)
7. They may have Microshield come in and do a simply IAQ test (ask your self, does this person really have any experience with this?)
8. You should ask that chamber testing of your foam be completed. Require AQS as the lab to conduct the SPF chamber testing.
You may be amazed at how an INERT product off-gases a crazy number chemicals. It will be clearly evident in your AQS report.
9.You may never hear from them again OR if the foam is REALLY OBVIOUSLY BAD, Demilec will hire a company to remove it.
(Be careful if you get to this point because Demilec just wants the foam removed. The houses that have undergone foam removal typically result in spaces filled with enormous amounts of foam dust EVERYWHERE, which is a problem on its own).
10.You are on your own.