Polyurethane Foam Association Spring Meeting Examines Industry Issues, Showcases New Programs
Association Unveils New Website; Mike Webb Recognized With Lifetime Achievement Award
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (June 7, 2019)—The Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) recently
concluded its spring member meeting, which examined key issues facing the industry and
reviewed new technical developments.
PFA’s two-day meeting in late May brought together more than 120 executives from foam
manufacturers, chemical suppliers, equipment makers, and other companies supporting the
industry for in-depth discussion of issues including flammability, the environment, and industry
Just prior to the meeting, PFA launched a completely revamped version of its website,
www.pfa.org. The new site features easier navigation, expanded training and education sections,
a complete archive of technical presentations, profiles of inductees into the Flexible
Polyurethane Foam Hall of Fame, and discussions of key industry issues. The site also contains
a members-only portal, with exclusive content and tools.
“PFA’s website has more than 1.9 million visitors each year,” said Russ Batson, PFA Executive
Director. “We took great care to make sure we maintain high visibility within search engines
with the new website, and we believe we can increase viewership and content to further support
the flexible polyurethane foam industry.”
A series of technical papers were presented at the meeting, with a presentation by John Sebroski
of Covestro LLC (co-authored by Kelly Kiszka of The Dow Chemical Company and Jennifer
Holtz of BASF) recognized with the Herman Stone Technical Excellence Award. The paper,
“The Molded Polyurethane Foam Industry Panel’s Approach to Developing a Roadmap for
Measuring VOC Emissions,” details the panel’s work to respond to automakers’ demands for
lower VOC emissions.
A second technical presentation by Tim Feeley of Covestro, representing the International
Isocyanates Institute, presented the results of a long-anticipated study on the potential of dermal
transfer of TDI or MDI in newly manufactured foam. Feeley detailed five migration tests
conducted on commercial foams representing typical classes of polyurethane flexible foam with
formulations expected to have the highest potential for residual TDI or MDI. Testing was based
on EPA recommended protocols. Feeley reported that TDI and MDI were not observed during
migration tests with any of the five foam types samples using any of the six synthetic sweat
solutions. The paper on the study is currently under consideration for publication by several
peer-reviewed journals.An industry issues forum allowed attendees to catch up with the association’s work over the last
six months, plus learn more about current issues.
One presenter, Yohai Baisburg of Cassidy Levy Kent, discussed the current tariff war between the U.S. and China, and the antidumping
case against Chinese mattress producers. Baisburg, who represents the International Sleep
Products Association (ISPA) and a number of domestic mattress producers, said these
developments play out against a backdrop of steadily increasing mattress imports from China,
which have actually spiked since the filing of the antidumping case in September 2018.
He noted that the two tariff processes are separate and the resulting tariffs can be additive. This
means that mattresses sourced from a Chinese company involved in the antidumping action
could be subject to both (1) antidumping duties and (2) tariffs assessed at the diplomatic level.
At PFA’s General Business Meeting, Mike Webb, recently retired from Innocor, Inc., was
presented with a PFA Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than 48 years of work in the
The Polyurethane Foam Association is a trade association founded in 1980 to help educate foam
users, allied industries and other stakeholders. PFA provides facts on environmental, health and
safety issues and technical information on the performance of FPF in consumer and industrial
products. FPF is used as a key comfort component in most upholstered furniture and mattress
products, along with automotive seating, carpet cushion, packaging, and numerous other