Industry News & Announcements

U.S. Chemical Industry Poised for Dynamic Expansion; Set to Outpace Overall U.S. Economy
Favorable oil-to-gas price ratios driven by the production of natural gas from shale continue to drive a renewed U.S. competitiveness that is boosting exports, and driving greater domestic investment, economic growth and job creation within the business of chemistry, according to the Year End 2013 Chemical Industry Situation and Outlook, published last week by the American Chemistry Council (ACC). 
Likewise, supported by activity within the domestic chemicals sector, the U.S. economy is likely to see continued, though moderated growth in 2014, according to ACC’s monthly Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), released Dec. 17. The Chemical Activity Barometer is an established leading economic indicator, shown to lead U.S. business cycles by an average of eight months at cycle peaks, and four months at cycle troughs. The barometer ticked up to 93.9, a 0.1 percent increase over November on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. This marks the eighth consecutive monthly gain for the CAB, which remains up 2.8 percent over a year ago.
2-Ethylhexanoic Acid Delisted from California’s Proposition 65
Effective December 13, 2013, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is removing tert‑amyl methyl ether, 2-ethylhexanoic acid, ethyl-tert-butyl ether, p,p’‑oxybis(benzenesulfonyl hydrazide) and 1,3,5-triglycidyl-s-triazinetrione from the list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity for purposes of Proposition 65. 
"The delisting means that polyurethane foamers will no longer need to reformulate away from the traditional tin catalysts based on the salts of ethylhexanoic acid. These catalyst create a breakdown product of 2–EHA in the final foam, and since it is on the Proposition List 65 in California, consumers require knowledge of its presence in foams through labelling. This is no longer the case," according to an article posted at

Graco Takes the Guesswork Out of Foam Insulating
A new wireless monitoring system for contractors and builders, InSite, shows how data-tracking systems can be used outside the factory. Released by Graco, the technology used in the InSite data system gives homebuilders and contractors a novel tool to check on work crews from afar. It also will prove to homeowners, and even insurance companies, that homes were properly insulated. It’s a frequent bone of contention in regions where temperatures reach extremes. 
"Our system improves accountability," said Nick Pagano, the Graco business development manager who created InSite. Graco field-tested the data tracking system for six months, debuted it at an industry trade show in October and now is rolling it out nationwide. Minneapolis-based Graco joins Toro, Honeywell, 3M and other Minnesota-based manufacturers that are introducing "smart," remote and real-time data-tracking devices to help managers in non-factory settings. Graco’s InSite kit looks like a black box not much bigger than a wallet. It bolts onto the foam-insulation machine in a contractor’s truck 
and wirelessly tracks the hoses, heat and drums of chemicals that become sprayable insulation. 
Hear more about the Graco InSite at the SprayFoam Convention & Expo, Jan. 28, 10:15-11 a.m.  
Sprayfoam Helps Smother Attic Fires 
Icynene collaborated with the International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) and an ICC-ES endorsed fire consultant to conduct a series of computer modeling and End Use Configuration testing to determine the performance of the sprayfoam in an unvented attic in a real-life fire scenario. The test results confirm that Icynene Classic Max™ helps smother the fire in less than a minute.

Energy Department Announces Winners of Housing Innovation Awards 
The Energy Department announced winners of the Housing Innovation Awards, recognizing 46 diverse industry leaders bringing the best in energy efficient building technologies and design to new and older homes and helping households save money. The competition, coordinated by the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, offered rigorous application criteria within four building categories: DOE Challenge Home Builders,  Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Participating Contractors, Excellence in Building Science Educator of the Year, and Building America Top Innovations. The Housing Innovation Awards recognize leading builders, contractors, researchers, national laboratories, and building science organizations who are helping communities across the country save money and energy and are leading the way to affordable, comfortable, zero net-energy ready homes. The Housing Innovation Awards support the Energy Department's commitment to help harness American ingenuity to commercialize and deploy cutting-edge technologies, as well as to promote improving the energy efficiency of the U.S. housing stock. Click here to see which entries were presented with Housing Innovation Awards.