Indoor Environmental Consultants (IEC) provides indoor air quality testing services to identify isocyanates and other pollutants that can cause air quality problems.
Residential and commercial builders across Texas and the Gulf Coast have increasingly turned to spray polyurethane foam (SPF) to insulate new construction and for remodeling projects. SPF has become a popular alternative to other forms of insulation due to its superb insulating properties, ability to protect against moisture, to fill cracks and crevices, and its excellent sound reducing properties.
SPF comes in several forms and is applied as a chemical reaction of two components that takes place when the materials exit an applicator nozzle and is applied onto a surface. A foam is formed that then begins to cure. As the use of SPF has grown, there have been concerns over both worker and building occupant exposure to one of its basic ingredients.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states the following: 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 exacerbation of asthma. Therefore, steps to control exposures and safety tips should be followed.
To prevent exposure during the application process, SPF applicators should use “best practices” based on the type of SPF product being applied as recommended by the manufacturer. This includes vacating building occupants who do not have the proper personal protective equipment, 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.
“Isocyanates are chemical substances that are known to be powerful irritants,” said Hollis L. Horner, President, Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. “For people who have been sensitized to isocyanates, even low concentrations of isocyanates can trigger a severe asthma attack or other respiratory lung effects. At IEC, our building science and indoor air quality professionals offer testing services to identify the presence of isocyanates and other indoor pollutants. These services can help to ensure the application process is conducted properly and that building occupants are not being exposed to chemical contaminants after the SPF has been applied.”
IEC has sponsored an educational video about spray polyurethane foam and chemical exposure concerns that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/9qswClQ4gxo
About Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc.
IEC began operations in 2001 with some of the nation’s most seasoned professional indoor air quality consultants who already had over 70 years of combined experience. The indoor environmental quality firm specializes in field investigations and assessments of commercial, institutional and residential buildings. Their services, related to fungal (mold), chemical, bacterial, asbestos and particulate pollutants, are offered throughout Texas, the Gulf Coast and the Southwest. IEC is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a mold assessment company (ACO0114) and an asbestos consultant agency (100329).