KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 29) — The body representing manufacturers and suppliers of polyurethane foam in the U.S. has criticized suggestions that polyurethane foam is unsafe.
"The Charlotte Observer" in North Carolina on Nov. 16 reported state health officials will be assessing the health of 250 residents near North Carolina foam-making plants, possibly including plants in Cornelius and Gastonia, that emit an airborne chemical linked to asthma and other respiratory problems. According to the story, releases of toluene diisocyanate almost 10 years ago were such a threat to a Randolph County community that the state health director closed a foam plant there.
However, in a statement on the PFA´s Web site, the Polyurethane Foam Association said, "The Glenola/Trinity American Corp. incident took place more than nine years ago. Trinity was not a good neighbor and has been closed for almost a decade."
The statement said, according to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, today´s North Carolina foam manufacturers have complied with the state´s tough emissions regulations and have a perfect air quality record.
The PFA said this is impressive because North Carolina has the lowest admissible TDI emissions limit of any state in the country. The North Carolina limit is two parts of TDI per billion in air, as an average over an eight-hour period, which provides a very large safety margin, according to the PFA.
The manufacturers´ association said it is unhappy with the science used by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry nine years ago and dislikes its proposed use in planned studies of North Carolina foam manufacturing facilities. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services would act as contractor for the proposed study activity.
"This work involves the use of unproven experimental testing methods and offers little promise for improvement over the poor science used by the ATSDR nine years ago in Glenola," the PFA said.