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Long Term Emissions from Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation



Dustin G. Poppendieck, Steven J. Nabinger, Matthew P. Schlegel, Andrew K. Persily


The desire to build more energy efficient homes in the United States has lead to the expansion of the residential spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation industry. Annually, over 100,000 homes in the United States are constructed or retrofit using SPF insulation. SPF is mixed onsite from two sets of chemicals containing diisocyanates and amine catalysts. Upon application, the reacting chemicals form expanding polyurethane foam that fills cracks and gaps, effectively reducing infiltration and thermal conductivity of the building envelope. Application can be complicated because the curing reactions are impacted by spray pressure, diisocyanate-to-amine mixing ratio, nozzle temperature, and relative humidity. To date, non-isocyanate emissions from SPF have not been reported in the literature. Residential occupants re-entering SPF treated homes have complained about odor, severe asthma, and other respiratory symptoms. The severity of the health effects has in some cases caused homeowners to sell or abandon their homes (CPSC 2013). More information is needed on chemical emissions from SPS to better understand occupant exposures and their impacts on potential health effects. The causes of any health impacts are unknown and might be linked to misapplication of the product. The objective of this investigation is to identify and quantify the non-isocyanate emissions from SPF applications after curing
Proceedings Title
13th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate Conference
Conference Dates
July 7-12, 2014
Conference Location
Hong Kong


Amine Catalyst, Emission, Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation


Poppendieck, D. , Nabinger, S. , Schlegel, M. and Persily, A. (2014), Long Term Emissions from Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation, 13th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate Conference , Hong Kong, -1, [online], (Accessed March 3, 2024)
Created August 6, 2014, Updated February 19, 2017