Proceedings of the Polyurethane Foam Association Technical Program May 13, 1999

Product Safety for High Production Volume Chemicals, A. H. Chapelle, PhD, ICI Polyurethanes, Proceedings of the Polyurethane Foam Association, May 13, 1999.

This paper describes the EPA Chemical Right-to -Know Initiative for High Production Volume (HPV) Chemicals. It provides a definition for HPV chemicals, the polyurethane chemicals covered by the definition, and how the industry plans to comply to the EPA rule. Included in the paper are the costs associated with conducting SIDS (Screening Information Data Set) tests, and the results of analysis conducted the CMA. The author stresses the benefits of voluntary commitments for testing, and provides guidelines for the volunteering process. The paper concludes with the EPA's role in rule making, and an overview of the HPV chemical testing process.

The Economics of Aging, How the Baby Boomers' Retirement will Restructure the Economy and Fundamental Public Policies, W. W. Beach, The Heritage Foundation, Proceedings of the Polyurethane Foam Association, May 13, 1999.

This paper begins by presenting an overview of population forecasts, dependency ratios for children and elderly populations and continues with investment habits, consumption of cars and medical services, off-premises food and clothing, household operation services, transportation services, durables, and household equipment and furniture as a percentage of GDP (1992). The author also forecasts manufacturing employment and service employment, and construction employment, as a percentage of total employment.

The author concludes that Americans are living much longer and as a result the number of Americans over seventy will double by 2030. An aging population means fewer workers to support each retiree's benefits, and the Social Security "Surplus" will soon be a thing of the past. He also concludes that Americans are receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits for much longer periods of time.

New Pigment DispersionTechnology for Flexible Foam, R. M. Harris, PhD, Ferro Corp., Proceedings of the Polyurethane Foam Association, May 13, 1999.

Using a systems approach, Ferro have developed new pigment dispersion technology for flexible foam. The technology is tailored for ether-based polyurethane foam, and makes use of advances in formulation and processing know-how to achieve carbon black dispersions with more than three times the jetness of current products. Direct comparison against current, more expensive, dye dispersions indicates the new carbon black pigment dispersions provide equal or better tinting strength at equal levels up to 3 PPH. Other added benefits are: 1.) The resulting dispersions have half the viscosity usually obtained with standard carbon black dispersions for flexible polyurethane foams, and 2.) the foam producer can blend the new pigment dispersion with available dye dispersions to obtain color value heretofore unachievable.

Evaluation of CPSC Upholstered Furniture Flammability Test, K. A. Reimann, BASF Corp., Proceedings of The Polyurethane Foam Association, May 13, 1999.

In the early 1990's, a petition was submitted to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) asking the agency to address flammability hazards associated with upholstered furniture. CPSC reviewed the petition and granted the portion dealing with hazards of small open flame ignition. CPSC developed a flammability fixture and test similar to the BS-5852 test. BASF used one of these fixtures to test more than 100 fabrics over four types of conventional and fire retarded (FR) polyurethane foams using the CPSC test protocol;. Many of the fabrics were also treated with flame retardants to improve performance in the test.

The results indicated that there was some pas/fail inconsistency with FR backcoated fabrics which passed the BS-5852 : 1990 small open flame test. Many of these fabrics did not pass the CPSC test, and of those that didn't, there were mixed pass/ fail results in most. For cotton fabrics, a solution topical FR treatment was effective. Laminated interliners seem to be effective for poorly behaved fabrics.

Inconsistency in some test data and other technical issues raised during this evaluation indicate that the currently written CPSC protocol may not be appropriate for use as a national flammability standard for upholstered furniture. At a minimum, it is suggested that a rigorous round robin trial be undertaken to further assess the technical merits of the test protocol.

Fire Safety Assessment For Mattresses, T. J. Ohlemiller, NIST, Proceedings of The Polyurethane Foam Association, May 13, 1999.

Fires and fire deaths in which a bed was listed as the first item ignited persist as major contributors to the U. S. fire toll. Most of these fires still result from cigarette ignitions. These fires may produce heat and toxic gas release levels that pose a serious threat to occupants of the room and beyond.

Most beds comprise a mattress and a foundation surrounded by sheets, blankets, pillows, etc. The bed clothes are most often in direct contact with the small flame or cigarette, and they magnify the primary source of ignition. Since beds are a unique fire hazard problem, there is no methodology currently available for relating tests of the components to the fire performance of the assembly.

This paper describes the objectives of the NIST program. They hope to:

1.) Characterize the level of thermal insult imposed on mattresses when bed clothing is the first item ignited.

2.) Determine how well available, marketable mattress technologies resist burning bedding.

3.) Develop a real scale test method for measuring the fire hazard contribution of mattress/foundation sets

4.) Develop a bench-scale composite or component method that would serve as an accurate screen for the full-scale test.

In order to achieve these objectives, NIST plans to:

A) Scope the range of burning behavior of bed clothes combinations

B) Characterize the heat flux patterns imposed on a mattress/foundation by a range of bed clothes combinations

C) Design simple gas burner(s) which simulate the local thermal insult imposed by bedding

D) Assess the potential fire safety improvement attainable with current, marketable flammability modifications in mattresses.

E) Provide data for use with a SPSC survey of bedding usage in various occupancies to estimate the probable real world impact of improved mattress designs.

The project was started in August of 1998, and the final report on level of improvement in fire behavior from beds using available, marketable mattress technologies is scheduled to be completed in February of 2000.

Evaluation of Fabric Effects in Various Open Flame and Cigarette Ignition Tests, H. Talley, J. Ziolkowski, The Hugh Talley CO., Proceedings of The Polyurethane Foam Association, May 13, 1999.

This paper describes the results of studies conducted by the authors to determine the durability of fire retardant treatments on upholstery fabrics using the BS-5852 small open-flame test. They also studied the effects of Immersion Treatment/ Ammonia curing flame retardant treatment on cigarette ignition propensity of 100% cotton fabrics, and the effects of FR backcoating on the cigarette ignition propensity of 100% cotton fabrics.

Based on the results of this study, it was concluded that the BS-5852 and CPSC draft test method do not adequately predict full-scale fire performance of upholstered furniture due to the variability of the of the FR backcoatings and the test method itself.

The ignitability of upholstery fabrics can be adversely affected by cushion constructions as well as in-use durability and other conditions making the BS-5852 and the similar CPSC test unreliable for predicting full scale fire performance.

The use of FR backcoatings can result in commercially unacceptable upholstery fabrics.

FR backcoating of 100% cotton fabrics did not eliminate the problem with open flame ignitions nor did it resolve the problem with smoldering ignitions.

The test results and observations from this study make it clear that FR treatments on fabrics do not make them completely consistently resistant to small open flame ignition or to cigarette ignition.