EPA Finds Health Risks in Sealants and Spray Foam Insulation

“Homeowners are thought to be exposed to chemicals in spray polyurethane and other sealant products through the inhalation of vapors, particulates and dust, during and after use.”
The Environmental protection Agency (EPA) recently released its action plan designed to address possible health risks to the public from methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI), and related compounds. These compounds are often found in available sealants and spray foam insulation in hardware and home improvement stores. The EPA is collecting data from manufacturers on past complaints of adverse health effects as well as safety data from industry sources. Once information has been collated and studied, further steps include improved labeling, comprehensive product safety information and a possible ban or restriction on consumer products containing “uncured” compounds.
People can be exposed to these chemicals when handling spray foam insulation, concrete sealant and floor finishing products. In an effort to better insulate homes for energy-savings purposes, do-it-yourselfers are using many more foams and sealants than in the past. While these products are advertised and available for use on in-home projects, homeowners may be inadvertently exposing themselves to health risks. Because of an interest in natural materials, wood floors have also made a strong comeback, and along with them, exposure to the chemicals used in sealing them.
While the EPA is conducting studies on the health and safety risks to consumers, homeowners can take important steps to protect themselves when using products containing MDI or TDI.
Homeowners are thought to be exposed to chemicals in spray polyurethane and other sealant products through the inhalation of vapors, particulates and dust, during and after use.
Health-related illnesses from inhalation can include asthma, sensitization (which can lead to future asthma attacks), lung damage or other respiratory or breathing problems, and skin and eye irritation. Consumers can follow these suggestions for safer usage of these types of sealants and insulations.
Always review label and product information for ingredients, hazards, directions, safe work practices, and and precautions and don’t re-enter the area before the recommended re-entry time. Different products carry different instructions. It is important to use the appropriate protection and practices stipulated for each product.

Ricky Ellis |Safety First Home Inspections | Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC # 9032 | 214.533.2536
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