SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 22 February 2017

Investigating Sampling and Analytical Techniques to Understand Emission Characteristics from Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation and Data Needs


The increasing usage of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation in residential buildings, coupled with potential adverse health outcomes, warrant consideration of exposure pathways to the chemicals that may be emitted from SPF, including unreacted isocyanates, catalysts, blowing agents, flame retardants, and aldehydes. The generation of new emissions data through chamber testing and modeling can inform stewardship guidance and practices during the use of SPF insulation, including application techniques and environmental variables, postapplication reentry times, personal protective equipment guidelines, and the use of adequate ventilation. Emissions test methods and protocols that utilize sampling and analytical protocols are needed to understand the variables that affect emissions and curing to develop and assess residential exposure scenarios. Factors important for chamber testing include the type of chamber being used (e.g., emissions test cell, small chamber, full-scale chamber) and the physical characteristics of the test chambers. Chamber testing data could then be used to model product formulation, room size, distance from the source, amount of product used (grams per event), thickness of application, air exchange and ventilation rates, equipment-related variables (method of application), temperature, and humidity. This paper evaluates current analytical and sampling methods used to determine potential worker and residential exposure to SPF chemicals. Data gaps in worker and residential exposures will also be discussed to show where chamber testing and modeling can answer questions such as what is an appropriate reoccupancy or reentry time and recommended ventilation methods.

Author Information

Sleasman, Katherine
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, US
Hetfield, Carol
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, US
Biggs, Melanie
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Rockville, MD, US
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Developed by Committee: D22
Pages: 228–277
DOI: 10.1520/STP158920150037
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7624-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7623-2