SPFA Submits Formal Comments to California DTSC Regarding Proposed Regulation of Chemicals Utilized in Spray Polyurethane Foam

Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) has submitted on behalf of its membership formal comments to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) regarding the evaluation of spray polyurethane foam and the use of diisocyanates. As part of this official industry response provided June 30 to the DTSC, the SPFA highlights serious inaccuracies in the Department’s public documents about the product and the harm these inaccuracies have caused the industry in and out of the state of California.

"We urge the DTSC to correct the multiple inaccuracies in the documents put forth to the public regarding the use of diisocyanates in spray polyurethane foam," said Kurt Riesenberg, executive director of the SPFA. "These incorrect facts have caused irreparable harm to an industry that is unparalleled in its ability to achieve energy efficiency and serve the state of California in its net zero energy goals set forth by 2020."
The SPFA’s formal response lists multiple inaccuracies and prejudiced statements including: unsubstantiated assertions that diisocyanates in sprayfoam are attributable to leading causes of occupational asthma; the inappropriate assertion that alternatives to diisocyanates in sprayfoam should be used or considered prior to the completion of a formal evaluation; multiple inclusive references in the Department’s documents to TDI and HDI isocyanates, which are not components of spray polyurethane foam; the critical need for the DTSC to make distinctions between various types of SPF such as sealants, insulation and roofing, which represent different products, different installation environments, different chemical constituents and different hazard levels; the state’s duplication of existing federal EPA, NIOSH and OSHA efforts addressing diisocyanates installation safety; and SPFA’s continued disappointment throughout the process with DTSC’s failure to initially reach out to industry before publishing inaccurate information, and the subsequent failure of not correcting published information proven to be incorrect. 

"The SPFA is concerned the DTSC’s efforts will continue to decimate jobs and energy efficiency in California," added Riesenberg. "At the very least, any and all information the Department puts forth during this evaluation process must be accurate and substantiated. It would be remiss for any public documents to be anything but factual yet that is the situation we find ourselves in." 

Following the SPFA’s formal comments submission, the association will continue to actively participate in the DTSC Priority Products evaluation process. "The SPFA will be an active voice and participant in this process to protect our members, constituents, customers and affiliate industries in the state of California," added Riesenberg. "Spray polyurethane foam remains unmatched in performance as an insulation and roofing material and we will continue to showcase the immense product benefits and safety to the Department and public." 
The next steps in the Department’s Priority Products evaluation process include public hearings, the establishment of the Final Priority Product List, an Alternatives Analysis and a Regulatory Response (which could range among a number of rules and regulations regarding the use of SPF in California).

Statements from industry stakeholders about the impact of the DTSC’s Priority Product effort relative to spray polyurethane foam:

"In order to prioritize a product, DTSC is required by law to demonstrate significant or widespread adverse impact. DTSC’s prioritization of SPF is based on isocyanates being the leading attributable cause of occupational asthma. Yet, according to the California Department of Public Health, out of 974,000 cases of occupational asthma, none have been attributed to SPF. Therefore, based on DTSC’s own data, the case against SPF fails."   
Mitch Fine

"Sprayfoam is a safe product, performing a great service to the state of California by helping save energy. The Governor's goal of net zero energy by 2020 needs sprayfoam with its tremendous air-sealing properties and superior energy efficiency performance. Unfortunately, the inaccuracies in the DTSC's sprayfoam Product Priority Profile continues to cause harm and widespread confusion among consumers, builders and building owners. We ask the DTSC to correct the sprayfoam PPP immediately. Sprayfoam offers a proven solution to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by reducing energy loss in buildings. We look forward to partnering with DTSC on responsible Green Chemistry initiatives, so that the state of California continues to enjoy the exceptional benefits of sprayfoam."
Will Lorenz 
National Sales Manager 
General Coatings 
Fresno, CA

"The DTSC has done irrefutable harm to the spray polyurethane foam industry. I have built my business over the past 11 years and have experienced a serious loss in revenue due to the DTSC's current process and harmful, incorrect published product information. Several jobs on my books have been changed to other types of insulation. Two customers completely cancelled their projects with me. Numerous architects have shared that they cannot spec sprayfoam until the DTSC process has run its course. And one major builder recently informed me that an 8 subdivision project with planned sprayfoam insulation will now not use the product. This equates to a loss of $5-6 million to my business! If the DTSC evaluation process is not completed soon, or results in the regulation or ban of this incredibly effective and safe product, I will be out of business and forced to leave the state."
Gary Talbott
5 Star Performance Insulation, Inc.