From The Environmental Protection Agency is looking at regulation of diisocyantes due to concerns about health effects.

Diisocyantes, which are ingredients in polyurethane plastics, face Environmental Protection Agency regulation due to concerns about health effects, the agency announced on April 13.

The main focus of EPA’s efforts is do-it-yourself consumer products such as spray foam insulation, concrete sealers, adhesives, and floor finishes. These polyurethane products may contain uncured diisocyanates, according to the agency. This contrasts with cured products, such as polyurethane foam in mattresses, which are not of concern, EPA says.

Diisocyantes can cause breathing and skin problems, the agency says. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration limits exposure to diisocyanates in the workplace. These chemicals are the leading cause of work-related asthma.

Consumer exposure to the substances, however, is unregulated.

The agency is taking a two-fold approach to diisocyanates. One is totarget toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and related compounds. The otheraims at methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and similar chemicals: MDI monomers and related isomers and polymers; and MDI dimers, trimers, and polymers.

EPA intends to issue a rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act to require companies to notify the agency before using uncured TDI and related polyisocyanates in consumer goods. The agency says it will also consider working with industry on a voluntary phase-out of these uses of TDI. If it can’t strike a deal with the private sector, EPA says it will consider regulation to require makers of TDI and related chemicals to monitor exposure to the compound in consumer goods.

The agency plans to ask manufacturers of both TDI and MID to report any allegations of significant adverse effects from exposure to these chemicals. The agency will also require these companies to submit any unpublished health and safety data they have on these compounds.

Also, EPA will consider regulations to require makers of these compounds to conduct exposure monitoring studies for commercial products with uncured TDI and MDI. The agency said it may regulate commercial uses of products in locations where the general public might be exposed to TDI and MDI. Plus, EPA will consider regulating consumer products containing uncured MDI.

We will keep you informed if any regulatory changes result due to this regulation.