SPF safety update

Ensure safe SPF applications

The spray polyurethane foam (SPF) industry continues to grow and develop new uses and applications for SPF. During the SPF industry's pioneering phase of the late 1960s, SPF's commercial uses were for insulation and roofing applications. As the industry's use of SPF grew, roofing industry trade associations began developing and writing application guidelines.

SPF's growth was not without problems. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) led investigations into flammability issues during the early 1970s, which led to extensive fire testing, research, and the issuance of a widespread communications program to inform those involved with SPF or plastic-based products about the products' potential flammability issues.

However, the SPF industry continued to evolve, and in the 1980s, NRCA formed an SPF committee to begin drafting documents for SPF roof system applications. The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), as well as its predecessor, the Urethane Foam Contractors Association, also introduced several documents and training programs for SPF applications.

During the late 1990s, the residential market for SPF insulation grew dramatically. And during the past five years, the housing segment has shown a 60 percent increase in SPF use according to the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry's 2008 End-Use Market Survey on The Polyurethane Industries in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. To meet demand, more applicators are becoming educated about and involved with SPF applications.