25. April 2011 ·
Finally! The EPA Sets “Action Plans” to Address Health Risks of Isocyanates in Polyurethane.
This is what we’ve been talking about from the beginning. Oceans of Isocyanates are made every year. Year after Year! How can that not be bad? Mountain is the worlds only 100% natural urethane. ZERO isocyanates are used in it’s production. Zero. Very hard to do. NanoTech is a super hard, super tough wood, floor finish and concrete coating. We devised a entirely new production method so we could surpass polyurethane performance with out any free isocyanates.
Sure, there are dozens of other chemicals in regular polyurethane that are highly toxic but the one that is almost never talked about are isocyanates. The Secret Toxin in Polyurethane.
The new Action Plan set forth by the EPA seems to be primarily concerned about spray foam insulation type applications but also includes sealants, glues and other DIY applications of products containing uncured isocyanates. Spray foam is by far the largest market segment of polyurethane which has been given a tremendous boost by all of the Architects and Builders specifying foam insulation in their so called “Green Buildings”. Of course, they have been enticed by industry sponsored studies and massive marketing campaigns as well as the fact that the ultra rich industry makes the product ultra easy to obtain. Compare this to the far safer, far greener inorganic insulation industry such as lime based insulation and you’ll see why the earth is poisoned for profit, even by those with good intentions. It’s hard to hold the line.
According to the EPA Action Plan, “Readily available consumer products, such as adhesives (including glues) and sealants also contain diisocyanates that are not completely reacted when applied and can provide potential exposures (Krone, 2004; Bello et al., 2007).” EPA MDI ACTION PLAN
Deck Stain, Floor Finish and Cabinet coatings are notoriously toxic coatings that employ isocyanates. The EPA makes a non foam definition here, ” The terms “coatings”, “sealants”, “binders”, and “adhesives” sometimes used interchangeably when referring to various polyurethane products and some industry sectors use some or all of those four types of products. In particular, the auto refinishing and repair, the marine leisure craft maintenance and repair (ACC, 2009), and the floor and deck maintenance and repair (Jarand et al., 2002; ACC, 2009) sectors have all had a variety of uncured polyurethane products available to both the professional applicator as well as the DIY consumer.”
2K urethanes and other professional wood finishing coatings should be reviewed extensively as well since these items actually may contain raw isocyanate to be mixed on site.
Will Corporate Interests Control the Flow of Information About Isocyanates?
The EPA details an action plan to scientifically analyze health effects of isocyanates on the consumer population. EPA will review industry data and industry will have an opportunity to influence the outcome of the study. Let’s just pray that they find it in their hearts to be fair. It’s always a red flag when the EPA solely uses industry data for it’s conclusions such as in this excerpt from the MDI Action Plan, ” Experimental ecotoxicological data for MDI and its degradation products indicate moderate to low toxicity to aquatic organisms (Bayer, 1992; Bayer, 2000a; Bayer, 2000b; Bayer, 2000c; Bayer, 2009).” It’s all Bayer. Bayer is the biggest, most invested polyurethane producer and raw material manufacturer on earth. Clearly there is a conflict of interest here. We obviously need a way to pay for these studies in a way that doesn’t kill business or the planet.
Here is the link to the TDI Action Plan
I hope Architects, Builders and Homeowners specifying Spray Foam Insulation will think twice. Why fill the walls with poison? The temporary benefits of a tight building envelope are not worth it. Inorganic chemistry lasts longer and is efficient enough to do the job. Add to that the the fireproof, insect, mold and landfill qualities of inorganic insulation and the choice should be even clearer. Spray foam insulation is such a waste on the job site. Truck loads of the stuff are cut off and carted to the dump BEFORE the job is even done. It’s just a toxic, wasteful mess. Sure it does an absolutely amazing job of insulating but you can’t call it “green” if it’s poisoning the earth for profit. The envirosocial costs do not outweigh the benefits. It’s just easy and cheap, like all good poisons.
Pursuing performance, coating their floors, cabinets, concrete and wood work Americans need to look to less harmful substances.
October 12, 2011 at 3:12 pmAll types of isocyanates react with substances containing, what the chemists call, a “reactive Hydrogen”; water (inclusive from humidity) is one such substance. As a direct result, finished polyurethane products (produced/obtained in accordance to the supplier specs.) do NOT have left behind any residual non-reacted “Isocyanate”.
- Earthpaint Wood Finish
October 12, 2011 at 3:44 pmThat’s the theory however it appears “over indexing” may be the norm not the exception. In tests, chemical engineers have reacted (in a reactor) free isocyanates in polyurethane. I hope the EPA does a thorough test and doesn’t simply rely solely on small lab tests and industry reports.