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Analyzing Effectiveness of Spray Polyurethane Foam Ventilation Guidelines for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Application Events



Dustin G. Poppendieck, Mengyan Gong, Lisa C. Ng, Brian P. Dougherty, Vu P. Pham, Stephen M. Zimmerman


Small two component spray polyurethane foam (SPF) application kits are often applied by Do-It-Yourself (DIY) consumers. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes guidelines for properly ventilating a SPF application space to minimize exposure to mists, vapors, particles and dust. This study sought to determine if EPA ventilation guidelines are sufficient to protect the non-application areas of a house from exposure to SPF chemicals during a DIY application event. Specifically, the research sought to determine if the flame retardant TCPP migrates outside a constructed isolation area during and after a SPF application in the basement of a test facility. The isolation area followed EPA SPF ventilation guidelines by using a fan to direct airflow across the work spray area, isolating the spray area, directing exhaust outside of the building, and ventilating after the application. The DIY spray increased the airborne TCPP concentration in a statically significant manner in the basement only during the first eight hours after application. However, the increased TCPP concentrations during and immediately after the SPF application were not statistically different than TCPP concentrations in the basement four years prior. Highest sorbed TCPP mass was at locations between the primary application areas and the exhaust fan. The data indicates that, for the tested case in this study, following the EPA SPF ventilation guidelines protected the rest of the house from significant TCPP contamination. However, these results may not hold for higher loading rates, lower ventilation rates, leaking enclosures or for other non-analyzed chemicals.
Building and Environment


Exposure, Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP)


Poppendieck, D. , Gong, M. , Ng, L. , Dougherty, B. , Pham, V. and Zimmerman, S. (2019), Analyzing Effectiveness of Spray Polyurethane Foam Ventilation Guidelines for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Application Events, Building and Environment, [online], (Accessed May 25, 2024)


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Created June 15, 2019, Updated March 18, 2020