SPFA Comments on CA DTSC Decision
SPFA releases statement speaking out against recent California DTSC decision
On 19 June the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) released a statement opposing the recent proposal by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to designate spray polyurethane foam products containing unreacted methylene diphenyl diisocyanates (MDI) as a listed Priority Product under the department’s controversial Safer Consumer Products Program.
“We are extremely disappointed with this decision to progress to the next stage of this regulatory debacle,” said Kurt Riesenberg, executive director of the SPFA. “We know the DTSC’s spotlight on our product has been problematic from the start. The department initially based its position on numerous, unsubstantiated inaccuracies about the product without consulting or verifying those details with our industry’s leaders and through verifiable and adequate research. That resulted in a protracted, multi-year process marred by DTSC inconsistency, confusion, errors, faulty research and false application of interpretations gleaned from other technologies then applied to SPF. DTSC has failed to satisfy its own published regulatory requirements for listing under the SCP program, and failed at every stage to progress per published timelines, stretching this experimental process out years beyond their original vision.”
“Furthermore,” Riesenberg continued “MDI use in SPF has already been reviewed thoroughly by federal agencies that specifically address worker and public health including OSHA, NIOSH and EPA. We ultimately believe this product assessment and listing process is not only riddled with problems, but is redundant and misusing critical taxpayer dollars that are approaching a dangerous shortfall as demonstrated by the California state budget.”
The SPFA said in the statement that is has long opposed the DTSC’s targeting of Spray Polyurethane Foam. The DTSC initially identified the product in early 2014 as an initial Priority Product listing without notifying and consulting leaders within the industry for fact gathering and collaboration. This led, according to SPFA, to inaccurate information about the product being published, damaging the industry’s reputation, the SPF market in California and nationally, and threatening years of coordination and progress between industry and the California Energy Commission (CEC) Title 24 energy efficiency provisions. The DTSC, in September 2014, made corrections to many of those published inaccuracies, but continued with its product assessment process knowing that the agencies whose mission is to ensure the safety of the public and workers had already properly assessed and handled questions about methylene diphenyl diisocyanates (MDI).
Spray polyurethane foam is a high-performance insulation material providing a very high level of energy efficiency performance. When installed in a home or commercial structure, it can reduce the energy demands of that building up to, or more than, 40%, which in turn dramatically decreases dependence on the use of fossil fuels for electricity (i.e. for heating and cooling homes and structures). This energy efficiency performance directly contributes to Spray Polyurethane Foam’s wide-recognition as an ideal product for use in Net Zero Energy construction and buildings.
“The energy benefits of Spray Polyurethane Foam are far reaching, positively influencing the environment and energy cost savings, while generating un-exportable highly skilled US jobs and stimulating the economy within the state of California,” added Riesenberg. “Not only that, but the state is aiming for all new residential structures to be Net Zero Energy by 2020, and all new commercial structures to be Net Zero Energy by 2030. The ability of the state to achieve these aggressive energy goals is highly dependent on builders’ access to high performing energy efficient building materials such as Spray Polyurethane Foam. Thus, the DTSC’s listing of a common component of the material as a Priority Product, directly undermines the state’s ability to achieve its own sustainability goals.”
“SPFA stands ready to continue discussions with DTSC and other California state agencies around productive topics of product stewardship, health, safety, performance, installer certification or other topics beneficial to California and its constituents,” said Riesenberg. “But instead we are faced with an advancing failed regulatory process, very significant associated costs to be forced upon the industry to support a long ill-defined alternative assessment process, and continued confusion throughout the state government agencies extending to customers that are relying upon the product’s performance to hit California energy and climate targets.
“If the DTSC had done its homework in 2013 and 2014 instead of being unduly influenced in the background by special interest groups and SPF industry detractors that have no true interest or concern in California’s energy, climate, economic and employment landscape, I do not believe we would be having any of these conversations,” concluded Riesenberg. “Instead we could be working together to find productive ways to make California stronger, more energy efficient, and more economically robust, while keeping consumers more comfortable in higher-performing homes and buildings with lower energy bills. I still fail to see how DTSC has any option other than to accept their lessons-learned throughout this new regulatory guinea-pig process, drop the proposed listing of SPF, and begin focusing instead upon other actually-documented, high-profile, ubiquitous chemical-product combinations well-known to cause widespread adverse health impacts.”
Founded in 1987, the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) is the voice, and educational and technical resource, for the spray polyurethane foam industry. The Alliance is a 501(c)6 trade association composed of contractors, manufacturers, and distributors of polyurethane foam, related equipment, and protective coatings, inspections, surface preparations, and other services. The organisation supports the best practices and the growth of the industry through a number of core initiatives, which include educational programs and events, the SPFA Professional Certification Program, technical literature and guidelines, legislative advocacy, research and networking opportunities.
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