About Children's EPA‎ > ‎Blog‎ > ‎

EPA Announces Actions on methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) to Reduce Harm to People

posted Apr 10, 2011, 12:36 PM by Nancy Swan
It has been twenty six years since I was seriously and permanent injured by these two chemicals while teaching seventh grade in Long Beach School District in Mississippi.  Countless victims, many schoolchildren and personnel have been exposed to these chemicals and reported injuries.   The only help came from filing lawsuits because no government agency was authorized to investigate the toxic incidents nor to do follow up studies on those exposed to these two chemicals.   The school district was allowed to cover it up, siding with the contractor who was business partners with at least one of the school board members.  The contractor stored two tankers of these chemicals within feet of the school cafeteria, lying that the tankers contained only water.  The contractor then blamed the manufacturer for not telling him the chemicals were hazardous, although the hazards were in fine print on the drum labels.  Harrison County Mississippi Circuit Court Jerry O. Terry ruled that the jury could not be informed that there were hazard warnings on either chemicals in the products because hazard warnings were meant for employees of the contractor.  The fumes and particles were heavier than air, so quickly fell downward and into our classrooms through a dozen or more open windows.

In summary:  It has been more than twenty six years and with full knowledge of the harm and injuries, spray on foam roofing companies are allowed to target marketing of these deadly products, calling the "a green solution,"  to unsuspecting and ignorant school board members.  How has the spray on foaming manufacturer and applicators kept this information secret for so many years, that school children and school personal have been seriously and permanently injured.   By prolonged and treacherous litigation, by offering  and harassing the injured and their families into less than fair settlements in exchange for lies and extortion of the injured into silence.  Judges like Jerry O. Terry look the other way, knowing settlement agreements contain confidentiality contracts taking away  the injured's constitutional right to free speech.  In exchange for settlement, the injured have to recant (say they were wrong) when they claimed they had been injured by these products.

Lawmakers, many of whom are lawyers, know this is the case.  No one has done anything to protect school children and personnel from these chemicals, until now.  Read, pray, and hope that the practice  of allowing school children and personnel to be injured and victimized by greedy companies --- will end by positive action.   Thank you EPA Director Lisa Jackson. 

Dale Kemery (News Media Only)

April 13, 2011


EPA Announces Actions on Two Chemicals to Reduce Harm to People

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released action plans to address the potential health risks of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI), and related compounds. Americans may be exposed to these chemicals when they are used in certain applications such as spray foam insulation, sealing concrete or finishing floors. The action plans are part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s commitment to enhance EPA’s chemical management program. The plans identify a range of actions the agency is considering under the authority of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

“There has been an increase in recent years in promoting the use of foams and sealants by do-it-yourself energy-conscious homeowners, and many people may now be unknowingly exposed to risks from these chemicals,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “EPA is working to protect the health of the American people and the environment.”

Diisocyanates are used to make polyurethane polymers. Most polyurethane products, such as foam mattresses or bowling balls, are fully reacted or "cured," and are not of concern. Some products, however, such as adhesives, coatings, and spray foam, continue to react while in use, and may contain "uncured" diisocyanates to which people may be exposed.

Diisocyanates are known to cause severe skin and breathing responses in workers who have been repeatedly exposed to them. The chemicals have been documented as a leading cause of work-related asthma, and in severe cases, fatal reactions have occurred. To protect worker health, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates workplace exposures through permissible exposure limits. In contrast to the availability of exposure data for professionals who work with diisocyanates, there is very limited information available about the use and exposure patterns of consumers  who may be exposed to products containing uncured MDI and TDI. EPA plans to carefully consider the potential risks from consumer exposure to these chemicals.

Actions to address concerns associated with TDI, MDI, and related compounds include issuing rules to call in data on any past allegations of significant adverse effects, obtain unpublished health and safety data from industry sources, require exposure monitoring studies for consumer products, and possibly ban or restrict consumer products containing uncured MDI or TDI. EPA will continue to work with other federal agencies, the polyurethanes industry, and others to ensure improved labeling and provide comprehensive product safety information for polyurethane products containing uncured compounds, especially in consumer products.

More information about spray polyurethane foam: http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/projects/spf/spray_polyurethane_foam.html
More information on these and other chemical action plans:


Note: If a link above doesn't work, please copy and paste the URL into a browser.


View all news releases related to pesticides and toxic chemicals