November 8, 2012, Omni Oceanfront Hotel, Hilton Head, SC

 “Summary of Recent Studies Presented at the Isocyanates & Health Conference” Mark Spence, III; Barbara Cummings, Dii Panel

This presentation summarizes six papers submitted by the International Isocyanates Institute (III) for presentation at the "Isocyanates and Health" conference covering III research on worker and consumer exposure, toxicology testing, human cancer risk, environmental exposure and monitoring, and occupational health management of interest to the flexible polyurethane foam industry.

 “Precision and Bias of the CertiPUR-US® Test Method for Volatile Organic Compounds” Stu Watson, AFPF; Doug Sullivan, AFPF

A 24 designed experiment with replication was conducted with flexible polyurethane foams having higher or lower levels of emitted volatile organic compounds (VOC). The testing revealed that the data were normally distributed and that no statistically significant difference between testing chambers or operators existed, and the test could reproducibly distinguish between the High and Low emission samples. The population standard deviations for Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Siloxanes yielded strong guidance for attainment of passing values while the results for TVOC (Base Rate) suggested opportunities for continuous improvement in sampling and testing. The values were used to give probabilities of success in future confirmation tests.

 “Comparison of NIST SRM 1196 and Various Commercial FSC Cigarettes for Smolder Testing” Bob Luedeka, PFA

This presentation summarizes the results of a nine-month investigation by the Polyurethane Foam Association of the smolder testing performance of a number of cigarettes including various FSC brands and the NIST SRM 1196. Initial smolder testing of more than 1,100 commercially-purchased FSC cigarettes showed that some brands of FSC cigarettes had a very high probability of burning full length without relights when tested using the TB 117 protocol with a cover sheet. This led to more smolder evaluations and interlaboratory validation of the findings. Interlaboratory trials confirmed that as foam density goes down, smolder-caused substrate weight loss decreases and that as firmness increases smolder weight loss drops. There was no statistically significant difference in weight loss effects from smolder testing between one brand of FSC and the NIST SRM 1196 cigarette, or in the variations of physical properties including cigarette length, diameter and weight. Results of more than 4,000 total trials support the recommendation that smolder test standards specify cigarette physical characteristics within a tolerated variance instead of naming a specific smolder ignition material.

 “Survey of the Incidence of Occupational Asthma among FPF Slabstock Plants” Lynn Knudtson, PFA

The combined results from foam production worker surveys covering 1988 – 2011 indicate that the incidence of self-reported occupational asthma was low, representing less than 2% of the surveyed worker population. The incidence of medically confirmed cases of occupational asthma was even lower (six cases) among the participating manufacturing sites representing more than 90% of U.S. FPF production volume. The very low number of self-reported or medically diagnosed cases of occupational asthma suggests that workplace controls were adequate and/or effective in the surveyed plants.

 “Viscoelastic Foam with Temperature Independent Comfort” Charles Ritchie, PCC Rokita

This presentation describes PCC Rokita Rokopol vTec polyols that can provide a broad range of glass transition and optimum low resiliency performance over a wide ambient temperature range. These characteristics help to improve comfort qualities in bedding and also improve handling of viscoelastic foam products during conversion processing. Typical viscoelastic foams are difficult to handle and move when they are warm and are difficult to cut when cold, so they need to be stored and conditioned at a convenient temperature in advance. Rokopol vTec based foams avoid this need.

 “Novel CO2-based Polyols as Flexible Foam Strength Enhancers” Jason Anderson, Novomer, Inc.

Novomer has developed a unique route to high performance sustainable polyols using a proprietary catalyst system to combine waste carbon dioxide (CO2) with standard epoxides. This original technology delivers renewable polycarbonate polyols that are up to 50% CO2 by weight, have a 3-9x carbon footprint advantage vs. existing petroleum-based materials, and can be cost competitive with existing polyether and polyester polyols at commercial scale. In recent flexible foam testing studies, use of Novomer polypropylene carbonate (PPC) polyols as a minority component of the polyol formulation resulted in foams with significantly increased compression force deflection, tear strength, and tensile strength. These novel polyols show promise as strength enhancing components of viscoelastic foam formulations.

 “Ultra-green Non-hazardous Cured Polyurethane Cleaner” Andrew Hiron, Bio8 Ltd

Bio8 Ltd Envii700 series products are non-hazardous, environmentally-compatible cleaning solutions for use with cured polyurethane foam. The series includes products for specific applications such as EN705, a liquid cured polyurethane cleaning product for use in dip tanks, and EN706, a gel for use on larger items and production equipment. The presentation describes other new products including EN720, an ester-based flushing compound that can be used in place of Methylene Chloride for in-line flushing of pour lines and heads. This product can be filtered and reused numerous times.