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Vacate and Safe Re-Entry Time

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Only workers wearing appropriate personal protective equipment should be present during SPF installation. It is not clear how much time is needed before it is safe for unprotected workers or building occupants to re-enter. Re-entry time is dependent on product formulation and other factors that affect the foam curing rates.

IMPORTANT! Building/Home Occupants and Other Workers Should Vacate During SPF Installation
During SPF installation, other trade workers and building/home occupants should vacate the premises.  Re-entry should be restricted until the product has finished curing, and the building has been adequately ventilated and thoroughly cleaned.

Building/home occupants and unprotected trade workers in buildings where SPF is being installed could be exposed both through their skin and through inhalation to residual vapors, aerosols and dust particles generated during the SPF installation process.

People who enter a building/home after SPF has been installed could be exposed to residual vapors from “uncured” foam and possibly dust particles bearing isocyanates if the foam was cut or disturbed and if adequate building ventilation and cleaning did not occur prior to re-entry.

Determining Safe Re-Entry Times

To determine a safe re-entry time for unprotected applicators, helpers, other workers, and building occupants, such as homeowners and school children, decision-makers should exercise caution and consult their SPF contractor for specific guidance in advance of SPF installation.

When determining a safe re-entry time, take into consideration vulnerable populations such as children. Children may crawl, roll, or sit on surfaces (i.e., carpets and floors) and play with objects such as toys where chemical dust or residues may settle. Children with asthma are an especially vulnerable population.

Re-entry should be restricted until the product has finished curing, and the building has been adequately ventilated and thoroughly cleaned.

Some manufacturers recommend 24 hours after application for the two-component high pressure "professional" SPF system for worker re-entry without the use of PPE and for re-occupancy by residents and other building occupants, but the recommended time may vary. Contact your manufacturer or supplier for specific guidance on ventilation time, re-entry time, and re-occupancy time for your specific product and scenario. Get more information on ongoing research on re-occupancy times, product emissions, and ventilation rates through ASTM International Subcommittee D 22.05 on Indoor Air Quality Exit EPA Disclaimer. Some manufacturers estimate that it can take approximately 8 to 24 hours to cure for one component foam, typically available in 12 oz. to 24 oz. cans. More research is needed to account for the potential variability of curing rates.

If home or building occupants have concerns that they may be exposed to residual SPF chemicals, potential off-gassing, or continue to smell odors, they should contact their contractor to ensure proper procedures and clean-up were followed. If their concerns are not resolved, affected parties should contact their local or state consumer protection office or contractors’ licensing board. Consumers can also file an online Consumer Product Incident Report with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the SaferProducts.gov website.

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View the reports from the SprayFoam Convention and Expo 2011 for EPA/NIOSH/OSHA (PDF), (70pp, 3.21MB), CPI (PDF), (23pp, 1.87MB), SPFA (PDF), (9pp, 16K) Exit EPA Disclaimer.

In fall 2009, EPA hosted presentations on "What You Need to Know About the Safe Use of Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF)". Read the 112-slide presentation (PDF), (112pp, 4.27MB).

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