Issues

Emissions Testing

Review of the Pending 2006 ATSDR Study of Possible TDI Emissions in North Carolina
The Glenola / Trinity American Corporation incident took place more than 9 years ago. Trinity was not a good neighbor and has been closed for almost a decade. Today, North Carolina FPF manufacturing plants have a proven track record of being good employers and concerned corporate citizens. According to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, today's North Carolina foam manufacturers have complied with the state’s tough emissions regulations, and have a perfect air quality record, with no violations on record. This is particularly impressive as North Carolina has the lowest admissable TDI emissions limit of any state in the country. The North Carolina limit of 2 parts of TDI per billion in air, as an average over an 8 hour period, provides a very large safety margin.

Recently, the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) proposed additional studies of North Carolina foam manufacturing facilities. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) is the contractor for the study activity. This work involves the use of unproven experimental testing methods and offers little promise for improvement over the poor science used by the ATSDR 9 years ago in Glenola. You may wish to review portions of a slide presentation (linked above) used to brief stakeholders on some of the problems associated with the new study. ATSDR comments appear on the slides in black & white.

As an industry we are eager to participate in and cooperate with any environmental study as long as it is properly peer-reviewed, unbiased and meets standards of good science.

The process used to manufacture flexible polyurethane foam is sophisticated and environmentally safe. TDI used in foam making is consumed during the manufacturing process. As a safeguard, any trace emissions from the process are either collected in carbon scrubbing equipment or exhausted from specially constructed stacks to quickly react in the air and become harmless.

ATSDR: Public Health Advisory for Trinity American Corporation Critique
This critique of the 1997 ATSDR report and recommendations concerning Trinity American Corporation in Glenola represents a consensus of opinion from technical experts, specialized physicians and biologists with specific knowledge of FPF production, the health effects of exposure to raw materials, and emissions control technology.

It is unfortunate that the ATSDR reached an unsubstantiated conclusion, but in this case, the lack of scientific proof is overwhelming. TDI was never detected in any amount in the air. The recommendations of the ATSDR brought undue hardship for more than one hundred Trinity American employees who lost their jobs due to the plant's closing by directive of the North Carolina State Health Director and EPA.

PFA members are concerned about the health and welfare of the people who work in their plants and live in the communities that surround them. Certainly, Trinity was not a "good neighbor", but should not have been closed based on unproven suspicions of potentially harmful emissions. PFA recommends that if additional research is conducted, that good, scientific methods be employed.

"Community Exposure Assessment and Intervention Effectiveness at Trinity American Corporation, Glenola, North Carolina," AIHA JOURNAL, Steven P. Levine, Charles F. Redinger, William P. Robert distributed with permission from The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) (1.2 meg PDF File)
The ATSDR and NC Department of Health and Human Services work at Glenola has received much criticsm from professional peers. You may wish to review a critical analysis of the study published by the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

TDI Fact Sheet
Facts about TDI, TDI antibodies, and the safe handling and use of TDI in flexible foam manufacturing.