Knoxville, Tennessee- A study on TDI (toluene diisocyanate) emissions from polyurethane plants in North Carolina by the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) is moving forward, the US Polyurethane Foam Association pointed out in a 26 Jan newsletter from Bob Luedeka, the PFA's executive director.
And the PFA is very concerned.
In its newsletter, the PU foam group pointed out that ATSDR has recently announced a start date of 5 Feb 2007. And the PFA compliments the ATSDR on "a number of seemingly positive steps." These include forming a Communications Advisory Panel which included Barry Blick, former Catawba County health director, described by the PFA as "a voice of reason who also serves as PFA's consultant."
But then the ATSDR "tossed out most of the Advisory Panel recommendations for comprehensive and even-handed communications tools and has reverted to its old tricks," the PFA said.
To make sure that the polyurethane foam industry's point-of-view is represented, the PFA haslaunched a website
"Inaccuracies and deceptions"
It also wants to balance what the PFA calls "ATSDR inaccuracies and deceptions." As an examples, the PFA says that, in a recently developed Q&A on the study, ATSDR asserts that TDI was found in the air near at Glenola. This is not true, the PFA states.
The foam association says that ATSDR "also inaccurately claims that Michigan, Washington and Vermont have tougher TDI emission standards than North Carolina." The PFA points out that TDI used in flexible polyurethane production is formed from 2,4- and 2,6- TDI isomers. Other states focus on regulating just one of the isomers, whereas North Carolina's standard is based on the two types combined. In NC, the limit is just 2 parts per billion averaged over 24 hours-the toughest standard in the US-equalled only by New Hampshire.
Another comment from the PFA is that the group said it found that, with no notification from ATSDR or NC DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services), the NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) Method 5525-for evaluating air samples collected indoors-will not be modified for samples collected from an outdoor environment.
"We and NIOSH both know that this is an untested and unproved procedure that could result in inaccuracies,' the PFA emphasises.
"We believe this is just one of the problems related to the NC TDI study being rushed. In order for NC DHHS to preserve its federal grant funding, they must complete all field work including air monitoring, health interviews and blood sampling by 31 March 2007," the PFA statement continued.
This means all tests at four or more manufacturing sites and four control communities must be completed within just eight weeks, the PFA said.
Such a tight schedule "almost guarantees that communication with stakeholders and the media will be inadequate," said the PFA, which may lead to "unnecessary damage to industry and unwarranted concerns among families who live in the study neighborhoods."
Another concern is that a lot of publicity could lead to loss of residential property values-"even if study concludes that there are no meaningful exposure problems," the PFA concluded.
PIC: Bob Luedeka, PFA executive director"