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Lessons Learned from Spray Polyurethane Foam Emission Testing using Micro-chambers



Dustin Poppendieck, Mengyan Gong, Lauren E. Lawson


Both governmental agencies and the SPF industry consortium have sought more information on potential chemical emissions from SPF to better understand any potential occupant exposures and health impacts. This research was designed to contribute to the development and evaluation of voluntary standards for testing emissions from SPF. Specifically, this work was performed to support the ASTM Indoor Air (D22.05) subcommittee consensus based efforts to develop a standard that can be used to compare emissions from SPF under uniform micro-chamber testing conditions. Although limitations in the current proposed method do not allow the generated data to be directly used in exposure modeling, it does allow conclusions to be drawn on how emissions between different types of SPF vary under the tested conditions. Micro-chamber SPF emission testing performed at NIST has demonstrated 1) a wide range of chemicals can emit from SPF under the tested conditions; 2) the same chemical may emit at concentrations that are an order magnitude different for open-cell versus closed-cell SPF, 3) the same chemical may emit at different concentrations from the same type of SPF (i.e. closed-cell SPF), 4) different chemicals may emit with different emission profiles (constant versus exponential decay) in the same foam, 5) emission rates from SPF are highly temperature dependent. This research establishes that emissions from SPF can be highly variable. In addition, micro-chamber testing can be used to demonstrate emission differences between SPF, whether the purpose is to compare new manufacturer formulations or to compare emissions from standard spray events and misapplications.
Proceedings Title
The 59th annual Polyurethanes Technical Conference
Conference Dates
September 26-28, 2016
Conference Location
Baltimore, MD, US


Poppendieck, D. , Gong, M. and Lawson, L. (2016), Lessons Learned from Spray Polyurethane Foam Emission Testing using Micro-chambers, The 59th annual Polyurethanes Technical Conference, Baltimore, MD, US, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created October 16, 2016, Updated April 6, 2022