EPA and Other Federal Agencies Meet with Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Industry
Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) Important Member Communication and Outreach Program to Spray Foam Contractors and Suppliers
By Kurt P. Riesenberg, SPFA Executive Director
July 29, 2009 - Alexandria, Virginia - EPA and Other Federal Agencies Meet with Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) industry and plan to develop important product stewardship and outreach programs.
(Reprinted with permission from the SPFA)
Letter to Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) Members from Kurt P. Riesenberg, SPFA Executive Director, SPFA.
Dear SPFA Member:
With a growth in federal dollars coming into the SPF industry via agencies, thousands of federally funded weatherization efforts (recently increased to $453M), and other avenues, the recognition of SPF's phenominal ability to save energy and employ thousands of contractors is front and center.
With the increase use also comes increased scrutiny in how we as an industry conduct ourselves. No one can argue against the energy performance of SPF. But can you say that you have the same level of confidence to declare that you follow all proper applicator safety procedures, all the time, every time? Or perhaps equally state that everyone on your crew also consistently take all proper steps to ensure applicator safety?
Answers to these questions had better be yes. Read on to understand why.
SPFA & Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) Meet with EPA, NIOSH, OSHA, CPSC
SPFA and CPI met with EPA, NIOSH, OSHA, and CPSC on June 25 to discuss the agency's interest in exploring a broad range of product stewardship and research initiatives with respect to spray foam. While this activity presents a significant opportunity for the spray foam industry, it has the potential to be both a very important and very large project. This reports on that meeting and outlines next steps.
Formation of Agency Task Group and Lead Agency
EPA formed an internal agency task group in January of this year to explore spray foam issues. It then invited other regulatory agencies into this effort. While the task group, led by EPA, has articulated a range of interests and potential projects, fundamentally EPA's interest is that spray foam workers and those adjunct to spray foam application operations, as well as building occupants, are adequately protected from exposure to spray foam particularly during application.
EPA's Immediate Priorities
At the June 25 meeting, agency representatives acknowledged the substantial energy savings opportunities from using SPF, and identified three core issue areas that it believes to be of most immediate priority:
- Improving availability of accurate and comprehensive hazard risk information.
- Developing and communicating best practices to minimize and help prevent exposures among trades.
- Addressing accuracy of green-marketing claims.
EPA has expressed interest in many other areas, including a research program with respect to exposure issues as well as examining unique aspects of SPF use in the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) market.
We learned in the meeting that EPA would like to begin engagement immediately in these three priority areas, with deliverables perhaps as early as September, and with a credible program roll out scheduled for the November U.S. Green Building Conference. We are therefore organizing three to five workgroups with EPA to begin addressing the short-term priorities noted above within the next 1-3 weeks. As we continue to narrow the focus of this very broad initiative with the agencies, additional details will be shared with you.
Please feel free to contact myself or Rick Duncan directly if you would like additional information. I have also enclosed a copy for you of the letter sent from CPI to the EPA and other agencies recently, which identifies the scope of these programs in more detail.
Thank you for the time put forth to read this, and for your continuing commitment to our great industry. More information on this important program will be shared in the coming weeks via messages like this, webinars, town-hall-style conference calls and other methods, and of course in detail at the SPFA conference in February 2010. Please watch for opportunities to do your part to strengthen the industry.
Kurt P. Riesenberg
SPFA Executive Director
Serving the entire SPF value-chain of contractors, material, equipment and coatings suppliers. It is our job to address challenges and present opportunities for growth, increased safety and quality in the industry.
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