Association Unveils New Website; Mike Webb Recognized With Lifetime Achievement Award

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (June 7, 2019)—The Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) recently concluded its spring member meeting, which examined key issues facing the industry and reviewed new technical developments.

PFA’s two-day meeting in late May brought together more than 120 executives from foam manufacturers, chemical suppliers, equipment makers, and other companies supporting the industry for in-depth discussion of issues including flammability, the environment, and industry regulation.

Just prior to the meeting, PFA launched a completely revamped version of its website,  The new site features easier navigation, expanded training and education sections, a complete archive of technical presentations, profiles of inductees into the Flexible Polyurethane Foam Hall of Fame, and discussions of key industry issues.  The site also contains a members-only portal, with exclusive content and tools.

“PFA’s website has more than 1.9 million visitors each year,” said Russ Batson, PFA Executive Director. “We took great care to make sure we maintain high visibility within search engines with the new website, and we believe we can increase viewership and content to further support the flexible polyurethane foam industry.”

A series of technical papers were presented at the meeting, with a presentation by John Sebroski of Covestro LLC (co-authored by Kelly Kiszka of The Dow Chemical Company and Jennifer Holtz of BASF) recognized with the Herman Stone Technical Excellence Award. The paper, “The Molded Polyurethane Foam Industry Panel’s Approach to Developing a Roadmap for Measuring VOC Emissions,” details the panel’s work to respond to automakers’ demands for lower VOC emissions.

A second technical presentation by Tim Feeley of Covestro, representing the International Isocyanates Institute, presented the results of a long-anticipated study on the potential of dermal transfer of TDI or MDI in newly manufactured foam. Feeley detailed five migration tests conducted on commercial foams representing typical classes of polyurethane flexible foam with formulations expected to have the highest potential for residual TDI or MDI. Testing was based on EPA recommended protocols. Feeley reported that TDI and MDI were not observed during migration tests with any of the five foam types samples using any of the six synthetic sweat solutions. The paper on the study is currently under consideration for publication by several peer-reviewed journals.

An industry issues forum allowed attendees to catch up with the association’s work over the last six months, plus learn more about current issues.  One presenter, Yohai Baisburg of Cassidy Levy Kent, discussed the current tariff war between the U.S. and China, and the antidumping case against Chinese mattress producers.  Baisburg, who represents the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) and a number of domestic mattress producers, said these developments play out against a backdrop of steadily increasing mattress imports from China, which have actually spiked since the filing of the antidumping case in September 2018.

He noted that the two tariff processes are separate and the resulting tariffs can be additive. This means that mattresses sourced from a Chinese company involved in the antidumping action could be subject to both (1) antidumping duties and (2) tariffs assessed at the diplomatic level.

At PFA’s General Business Meeting, Mike Webb, recently retired from Innocor, Inc., was presented with a PFA Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than 48 years of work in the industry.

The Polyurethane Foam Association is a trade association founded in 1980 to help educate foam users, allied industries and other stakeholders. PFA provides facts on environmental, health and safety issues and technical information on the performance of FPF in consumer and industrial products. FPF is used as a key comfort component in most upholstered furniture and mattress products, along with automotive seating, carpet cushion, packaging, and numerous other applications.

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