December 2004

Regulation Changes in the Plyurethane Industry Anticipated

Las Vegas, NV— Speakers from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told more than 1,000 people at Polyurethanes Conference 2004 about pending regulations affecting the polyurethanes industry. The CPSC expects to decide soon whether it will move forward on a rule regarding the flammability of upholstered furniture and mattresses. The EPA recently issued rules on the phase-out of the production and import of HCFC-22/-142b set for 2010.

Dale Ray, project manager at the CPSC, told delegates that the CPSC was substantially close to issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking addressing furniture fires ignited by cigarettes and small open flames. CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton testified before a Senate Committee in July that flammability regulations are the agency’s highest priorities. The rule under consideration at the CPSC would apply to all residential upholstered furniture manufactured or imported for sale in the U.S.

At the close of a technical session on blowing agents for polyurethane foams, Suzie Kocchi, environmental protection specialist from the EPA, provided an update on the status of rules and regulations that impact the use of blowing agents. She presented rulings on the phase-out of the production and import of HCFC-22/-142b set for 2010. According to Ms. Kocchi, the EPA published a final rule on the use of HCFC-141b (69 FR 58269) in foam on September 30, 2004. Ms. Kocchi also said that as of January 1, 2005, HCFC-141b will be unacceptable for use as a blowing agent in foam applications in the U.S., with some exceptions, which include use in space vehicles, defense applications and nuclear applications.

In response to comments from the spray polyurethane foam industry, materials that are fully formulated, inventoried and on a certified list can be used by contractors until July 1, 2005.

“The polyurethanes industry is faced with a number of new regulations that will take effect in the next few years,” said Dick Mericle, executive director of the Alliance for the Polyurethanes Industry (API). “A great deal of innovation and technological development is focused on meeting these regulations so the polyurethanes industry can achieve environmental, safety and cost-efficiency goals.”

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