SPF Chemistry Makes it a Safe Product

Welcome to Poly Waterproofing, the website that brings you the scoop on the SPF and polyurea industries. Our topic today is titled Spf chemistry makes it a safe product. My guest is dr. George Thompson, president, and CEO of chemical compliance Systems. Inc. Dr. Thompson has a Ph.D. in toxicology and pharmacology. He has 14 years of experience in industrial hazard and risk assessments, environmental evaluations, and product development. He has published 21 hazardous chemical books, 39 technical research articles hosted worldwide, and three national safety health conferences and has trained over a thousand 10,000 excuses. Me, 10,000 employees, he's been an expert witness for legal cases involving SPF. He recently gave a presentation at the 2018 SPF, a convention entitled SPF chemistry makes it a safe product. Welcome dr. Thompson. Thank you very much. It'S a pleasure to be with you. You certainly appear to be highly qualified to help us understand how SPF chemistry makes it a safe product. What prompted you to write this particular presentation?

I've been an expert witness in four lawsuits against SPF manufacturers, installers and distributors and the sources of information for those lawsuits. For the plaintiffs has always been the Internet, where there is misinformation about SPF and so for those in the industry. I wanted them to understand enough about the chemistry, at least in layman's terms, that they could appreciate that they are installing a safe product. Still, there are concerns for the employees they're employees that they need to be protected. So it was to give a balanced picture. Based upon the science of chemistry and toxicology well, this is certainly good news for the SPF industry. In your presentation, you mentioned that all chemicals could be hazardous, but prudent management and the use to reduce or eliminate the risks. So, in other words, if you use it in ways that are proper and appropriate, you're going to reduce or eliminate your risks. So when we talk about something being toxic, you say that it's a matter of dosage or how much it exposes a person to a particular substance. Can you talk more about this? Yes, that's true of anything. That's made of chemicals is that the dose makes the poison, and we're aware of that because if we look at things that we commonly use that have hazards associated with them in an example of our medicines, they design medicines to have toxic effects. That's sometimes how they cure think of an antibiotic, that's how it's yours, the disease, but because we control the dose, the frequency that we take the antibiotic and the duration that we take it. Then we control what effect that has, and if we follow the proper procedures, then it prevents and cures disease, and with SPF, it's the same thing: it's the dose that makes the poison. So if you're looking at the side a, you want to be very cautious with that and the employees that work with it, because that has a hazard associated with it. When you go to the far extreme - and you have the cured SPF article after 24 or 48 hours, then that risk is gone. Okay, that's fascinating! That is information. I think anybody in the SPF industry should understand. Well, it also applies to foods we eat. There are poisons and foods arsenic, for example, is in potatoes, but because it's in very small concentrations - and we vary our diet, poisonous mmm. But if we took it in high doses, then it would be very much a negative effect on our nutrition health. Okay. So it's the same idea with SPF. If, if used correctly, and you understand how to educate your customers, then you should be fine. Yes, okay, and according to your presentation, it's you said that most legal cases against SPF were initiated because of complaints surrounding the installation of SPF. So what are the issues surrounding the installation process that become a legal issue? Well, there's a hierarchy of what I call root causes when I do expert witness work. I do a root cause analysis, and I say what was the original: what is the original complaint? What are the health effects they're being alleged, and as you track down into tears, what was it that could have caused those and when I first got involved with these legal cases with SPF? What I found as I worked out to the root cause, is that in fact, there wasn't anything in the chemistry that could cause that. But if there was a fault, it would routinely be that it wasn't installed properly when he gets to the Installer and the original raw materials that were used. It'S important, for example, that the consumer is not around during the installation. That'S the easiest way to make sure they're not exposed, and therefore, the dose is zero. It'S you know they can't be exposed to a hazardous or a toxic level if they're not there, and then the worker, of course, has to be properly suited up in personal protective equipment so that he's not exposed.

Okay, all right. So what are some things that you think contractors should do to protect themselves against legal action from a customer? The contractor that does the actual installation will get most of his technical information from the manufacturer, and so it's important that the manufacturer first does a prudent work in the sense that they evaluated all of the aspects in the SPF life. I go from side a to be the cure in SPF to the cured SPF, and so if they have that information analyzed and reports provided to distributors and installers and safety data sheets for the entire system, then the Installer needs to be trained and conscious of that Information mm-hmm, but I would reckon one of the things that I recommend to installers is that they avoid any potential customer that has asthma known chemical sensitivities or COPD breathing problems because those all of the cases that I've been involved are people that fall in one of those categories, and so, if that's the first rule the second rule, is that they're people that are doing the installation and the sales staff are properly trained so that they understand the hazards, the risks and the known risks with SPF. And they can properly explain that. To their to their potential customers, yes, because sometimes they're the first line of communication. Absolutely I don't want to the different expectations from the customer versus the Installer or his salesman and then, in addition, it's very important that the installers follow proper procedures, maintain detailed records, including photographs, and monitor the project after the installation to make sure that it has all Of the appearances of being proper well, I know a few contractors who actually have a document that they have their customers sign. That says that they have read and understand that it's important for them to vacate the premises for either 24 to 48 hours, and they have that customer sign it. What do you think about that? 
That'S one of the strong pieces of evidence that would protect the whole chain of command. The Installer. The distributor in the manufacturer in a lawsuit is that if a customer sign that that's strong evidence that they knew and they were properly informed. But the cases that I've been involved with didn't have so it is one of the early indications that there is a potential for a lawsuit. So if you take the two, if you take of a customer, a potential customer who has sensitivity say, has asthma, asthma and you don't tell him about the the effects or even if you do tell him about the effects potential effects and you don't document it they're Liable to take you to court and say: oh, they didn't tell me yeah, so a simple piece of paper could solve a lot. Yes, absolutely! Okay! Now what can contractors do to protect themselves? Legally, we'll say an employee develops a sensitivity to SPF of what are some. What'S some things that the contractor could plan or do in advance to dissuade that possibility? Well, one of the things that's critical when we talk about SPF is what do we mean by that mm-hmm and and in a lawsuit the plaintiff? The homeowner is going to mean the when they use the term SPF. They. You almost always mean the side mm-hmm, because that's the most hazardous component, okay, but if the customer is not there during the installation, they're never exposed to them aside. So we have to be careful here what language we're using because there is an A-side and a B side, a curing SPF, and a cured SPF. When we talk about SPF in the industry, we're talking about the finished cured SPF, oh okay, I'm talking about the a side we're not talking about the B side, because we use those terms to talk about the components that go into making SPF and there's tremendous confusion. In the industry, not in the industry, but in the customer market place about what is SPF, and if you go on the Internet and you look up, SPF you'll find that all of the negative stuff is about them aside. Now, that's also the side that workers have to be careful of because they can become sensitized if they don't wear the proper personal protective equipment and the air supplied respirators and keep themselves from being exposed, then they can become sensitized to that and that's a lifelong sensitization Mm-Hmm and so it's critical that the workers protect themselves and that they make sure that the customer is not present when this stuff is being installed so that there is zero exposure right.

So yes, so if a company is putting all the the proper safety into effect and they're documenting things, they should not have an issue, and you brought up a very good point that I want to emphasize a little more. You mentioned the difference between cured and curing. So I think we need for our listeners anyway that we need to distinguish the difference between curing and cured. That'S very good good point, so when the Installer is shooting the mist of the the mixture into the wall or the the ceiling roof, applying it it's going on there as a reacting mixture, mm-hmm and it actually swells up and that swelling up is a chemical reaction. Where there are air bubbles, if you will or some form of gas, that's making the cells in the SPS mm-hmm, but after a few minutes, that swelling stops mm-hmm. But there are still chemical reactions going on for the next few hours. It could be one or two or three hours and the curing process continues and think of this now, as let's say it's 2 or 3 inches thick, reactions are going still at the base of that installation when the surface of it has already got a film On it, and you can touch it, and it doesn't stick to you. You know those reactions are completed, but, as you move into the depth of the SPF, the reactions are continuing and that's partly why you wait for the homeowner to come back in 24 or 48 hours so that the full depth of that the reactions have stopped. Know that the curing SPF is still having reactions ongoing and there are more chemical constituents in curing SPF, and there are in the cured SPF, where reactions have stopped so once the product is cured, then essentially the chemical reaction stops, and it's the aside at That point and the B side as well there once they are cured there is no there's no residual, there's nothing that anybody could come in contact with that. Would that would be considered toxic in any way.

No, the way that it works is that the a side reacts with the B side, yes and forms this cure or curing or cured, SPF H, and so in that context, when you have the cured SPF, it's a solid material. Think of it as a plastic mm-hmm or think of this, a sponge that you use in the kitchen to wash dishes it's a solid just like the sponge. So in that context, when you touch the surface of it, there is no reaction there mm-hmm, but there Are cells in it, they're small, in some cases, microscopic cells if they're, if it's closed cells and if you cut into it, then those cells can have some residual chemicals in them, but they can't come out through the top plastic, or if they come out, it's at such a low rate, you can't detect it okay, and so it's not of any concern, but the surface of it is completely safe to touch and much of the components inside ER at such low concentration. Because of these microscopic holes, there's not much chemical in there. Mm-Hmm and most all of the chemicals have reacted to make that plastic candy what we call SPF or spray polyurethane foam. No, thank you for that. Yes, you know. It reminds me of what, if you were talking about, say a water molecule or h2o, which is comprised of hydrogen and oxygen. It'S you wouldn't want to drink a glass of hydrogen gas, but once it's combined with the oxygen, it's perfectly safe to drink, and we all drink it every day. Yes and those, and in the context of the reactions to make water with the hydrogen and oxygen and the water, those are three different chemicals mm-hmm, so hydrogen isn't water and oxygen in the water. But when you chemically react to them you make water, which is different and has different effects. That'S the same same thing true with side a and side B. There are two different mixtures of chemicals. When you put those two mixtures together, what comes out as SPF is a different product, okay, all right, so um. Now what? What is your stance on the B side? Chemical? Just as itself? We'Ve talked a lot about the ISO or the side. What about the B side, the B side by nature is less concerned than the side hmm because of the chemicals that are used and their effects as pure chemicals mm-hmm. So they're significantly less concern on the B side than there is on the A-side, but then there are some components in the B side that can cause irritation kinds of effects, irritating wheezing things if you're exposed to them and particularly in the manufacture of the B Side where you're working with concentrated things like amines, but those materials are retained in the SPF cells at such small microscopic levels that one they don't escape out of the cells after the curing process is completed and two. The amounts that are there are so low that they wouldn't cause adverse health effects. Very good all right. Thank you for that. So well. What is the best way for companies to document that they have done all the things that they should be doing to protect themselves? Well, the first thing: the very first thing they do before they even get a customer is that they need to train their installers and sales staff. They need to understand something about the chemistry the installers need to understand it because they need to protect themselves. Both of them need to understand it, so they can explain it to the customer. Hmm, the salesman in closing the deal and the Installer in the process of doing the installation they don't want to. They want to be knowledgeable enough that they can keep the customers from being exposed mm-hmm part of the way they do. That is making sure they have the safety data sheets from the manufacturer on each of this com, so they can refer to them, or they can refer the customer to them mm-hmm. They need to maintain the what they have done with pictures mm-hmm. So because if you go to a lawsuit, the pictures worth a thousand words literally in court and and then they need these detailed records, as you indicated, if they've got a signed document from the homeowner mm-hmm that they recognize they're not supposed to be in the home. For at least 24 or 48 hours and and the process also indicates that they have had the chemistry to explain to them in layman's terms that between the pictures and the signed documents they're very, very effective, but the installers also need to annually monitor their employees. For any potential health effects, and and in all cases, I recommend that they carry liability insurance for those unfortunate circumstances where lawsuits evolve, because they can be very expensive. Well, I think that everything you're telling our listeners today is so crucial and critical and can just save them so much. You know and headaches potential loss. I just think that you know that this is information, that everybody should know how important our SPF certifications in protecting oneself legally. Well, in almost every case, the first question the plaintiff's attorney the customers attorney is going to ask the Installer when they're deposed when they're questioned mm-hmm is. Are you certified? I'm very first question: mm-hmm and they're gonna want to see the certification mm-hmm who gave it and what, when and they'll ask some detailed questions about what was in the certification course because what they're trying to do in front of the judge or jury is to Let the jury see whether this Installer knows what he's talking about yeah. So that's the purpose of the certification training courses is to make them knowledgeable so that they can protect themselves and their customers. But that's what certification is, is the first document that they're they're going to ask for it's really strengthened if the sales staff, when they're interviewed because they will be the resident or the customers can make a sale. They didn't tell me any of this stuff, but if they have the signed document and the salesman, when he's depots can say, here's all the stuff I was certified in and I told the customer, then it really undermines the inherent financial risk for the employer. Yes - and I also want to clarify you know it isn't just certifications or maybe accreditations while those are important, it could also be documented training or other types of education that are documented as well. Something like that kind of document should be adequate as well. It would be adequate, but what really comes across is that remember each of these participants in an installation, or so that can be the Installer and his assistant, the sales staff, the project manager, mm-hmm. All of the levels in this process are going to be deposed. Mm-Hmm by the plaintiff's attorney mmm, including the distributor and the manufacturer, they will have people who are deposed. So it's important in those depositions that when the attorneys ask detailed questions, think about it is chemistry or health effects or protection processes with signage or documentation that The communications are given to the customer, all of that stuff becomes evidence in the court mm-hmm and so the more certifications that are had in that chain within the whole industry and the easier it is to win the cases. Oh, very good, okay, so um. Your experiences in court - let's say in a lawsuit: how do you demonstrate that SPF chemistry makes it a safe product? I know that you have some extensive PowerPoint presentations, and you have tried to get the word out in a number of ways. I - and this could be something that you would want people to come to your website to learn more about. I'm just not sure how deep of a question I'm asking, so I don't know how you might want to respond to this right now. Well, first of all, it's important that everybody in the business, including the customer, understands what we mean by SPF and and and within that concept of spray polyurethane foam. There'S an A-side. There'S a B side, there's curing SPF source reactions are still taking place, and there's cured SPF and what the customer is exposed to if they're not coming in within 24 or 40 hours is the cured SPF mm-hmm, and so it's critical that that chemistry is understood, And when I have participated as an expert on these lawsuits, I simply keep focusing because what the opposing attorneys trying to do is talk about the dangers of a side - ah uh-huh, but that's not what the customers exposed to the cured SPF. There is no azide left, yes, because it's reactive, Munich! Yes, yes! So when you communicate that chemistry to a judge or jury, they can understand the importance of semantics here in the language of the process. Mm-Hmm, and it's very easy to prove in a court of law that cured SPF is safe. Thank you, particularly when you acknowledge that the side's hazardous which it is it's hazardous, and anybody takes exposed to it, whether it's a worker or the or the resident. So you don't want those people exposed the worker, wears complete protective personal protective equipment. The resident shouldn't be there when there's any SP any aside, and that usually is gone within the first one to three hours. They can't detect it anymore. So the chemistry speaks for itself, but you have to focus on the chemistry whether you're talking about making SPF safe for the workers or you're talking about weight, making SPF safe for the residents and the homeowner. Hmm, it's about making sure the chemistry is done properly, and all procedures are being properly followed by all parties. Thank you, dr. Thompson. This has been an absolutely fascinating topic, and I'm sure tremendously worthwhile to everyone connected with the SPF industry. If people want to know more, how can they contact you? Well, I can be reached by phone at nine seven, three, six, six, three, two one, four: eight: they can check out our website at wwlp.com, or they can email me at George Thompson with no dot at kemp. I com, and I want to emphasize that there that when you plot on a graph the hazards of the side to the SPF article across this lifecycle, mm-hmm, it is a decreasing curve. Mm-Hmm, so did you eat as you move through the lifecycle of SPF? It gets increasingly safe, and that's a message that needs to be taught to all of the employees in an organization, but it also needs to be expressed to the customers, and they can understand it and will accept it when they see just how safe SPF cured as Well, I really appreciate that clarification and I'm sure our listeners do as well dr. Thompson. Thank you so much for joining us today and helping us understand how SPF chemistry makes it a safe product, and that website again is WWE. My com, thanks for listening to SPF talk, this is Jay Davidson, CEO of a spray-foam insider. The show that cuts through the jargon gets to the point and saves you time and money. If you would like to be a guest on our show, email us at info at troy@armorthane.marketing

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