You may already be aware that spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a highly effective insulation and air sealant material.
In spite of this amazing advancement in the insulation and building industry, exposure to the chemical components that react to make SPF can pose serious and potential health risks.
For example, did you know that during a spray foam application, only workers wearing appropriate personal protective equipment should be present on the job site?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only trained applicators and related team members using effective workplace practices – including ventilation – and appropriate protective equipment should be present during and immediately after SPF installation. Furthermore, to avoid exposure to chemicals as these products cure, the occupants of the building should not return until the manufacturer’s re-entry procedures have been met.
So what’s considered a safe timeframe? Spray foam that is correctly applied and allowed to fully cure is usually considered chemically inactive. But certain factors can impact curing rates, which can lead to unreacted chemicals potentially emitting noxious gasses over time. The EPA suggests that factors, such as temperature and humidity, improper workplace practices (i.e., failing to shut down the HVAC system) or improper mixing can all impact curing.
Whether you are an applicator or assistant, follow these three health and safety tips to ensure safe work practices:
- Always carefully read the label and product information for chemical ingredients, potential hazards, directions and precautions.
- Make sure health and safety training is completed and safe work practices are adhered to by all team members to prevent exposure before, during and after a spray foam installation job.
- Use caution when determining a safe return time for the home or building’s occupants and workers based on the spray foam manufacturer’s recommendations.
Spray Foam Health and Safety Initiatives
As industry experts predict that the use of SPF will significantly increase in the coming years, trade organizations, such as the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) and the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), offer a wide range of safety and training programs available to help when it comes to safe SPF application.
At Intech Equipment & Supply, we work to do our part to help promote the highest level of safety among all spray foam businesses. Contractors can find spray foam machines and everything else they need to maintain a safe worksite at our website.