Our topic today is titled SPF chemistry makes it a safe product, my guest, is dr. George Thompson president and CEO of chemical compliance Systems Inc Dr. Thompson has a Ph.D. in toxicology and pharmacology he has 14 years of experience in industrial hazard and risk assessments environmental evaluations and product development he
has published 21 hazardous chemical books 39 technical research articles hosted to the worldwide and three national safety health conferences and has trained over a thousand 10,000 excuse me 10,000 employees, he’s been an expert witness for legal cases involving SPF he recently gave a presentation at 2018 SPF a convention entitled SPF chemistry makes it a safe product welcome dr. Thompson, thank you very much. 
Image result for chemical compliance Systems polyureaIt’s a a pleasure to be with you you indeed appear to be highly qualified to help us understand how SPF chemistry makes it a safe product what prompted you to write this particular the presentation I’ve been an expert witness in four lawsuits against SPF manufacturers installers and distributors and the sources of information for those lawsuits for the plaintiffs have always been the Internet where there is misinformation about SPF and so for those in the industry I wanted them to understand enough about the chemistry at least in layman’s terms that they could appreciate that they are installing a safe product but there are concerns for the employees they’re employees that they need to be protected and so it was to give a balanced picture based upon the science of chemistry and toxicology well this is undoubtedly good news for the SPF industry in your presentation, you mentioned that all chemicals could be hazardous but prudent management and the use to reduce or eliminate the risks so in other words if you use it in ways that are proper and appropriate, you‘re going to reduce or eliminate your risks so when we talk about something being toxic, you say that it’s a matter of dosage or how much a person is exposed to a particular substance can you talk more about this yes that’s true of anything that’s made of chemicals is that the dose makes the poison and we’re aware of that because if we look at things that we commonly use that have hazards associated with them in an example of our medicines are designed to have toxic effects that are sometimes how they cure think of an antibiotic that’s how it’s yours the disease but because we control the dose the frequency that we take the antibiotic and the duration that we take it then we control what effect that has, and if we follow the proper procedures then it prevents and cures disease and with SPF it’s the same thing it’s the dose that makes the poison, so if you’re looking at the side you want to be very cautious with that, and the employees that work with it because of that has a hazard associated with it when you go to the far extreme, and you have the cured SPF article after 24 or 48 hours then that risk is gone okay that’s that’s fascinating that is information I think anybody in the SPF industry should understand well it also applies to foods we eat there are poisons and foods arsenic, for example, is in potatoes but because it’s in tiny concentrations, and we vary our diet poisonous, mmm but if we took it in high doses then it would be very much a a negative effect on our nutrition health okay so it’s the same idea with SPF if used correctly and you understand how to educate your customer then you should be fine yes okay and according to your presentation it’s you said that most legal cases against SPF were initiatedbecause of complaints surrounding the installation of SPF so what are the issues surrounding the facility the process that becomes a legal issue well there’s a hierarchy of what I call root causes when I do expert witness work I do a root cause analysis, and I say what was the original what is the initial complaint what are the health effects they’re being alleged and as you track down into tears what was it that could have caused those and when I first got involved with these legal cases with SPF what I found as I worked out to the root the cause is that there wasn’t anything in the chemistry that could cause that, but if there were a fault it would routinely be that it wasn’t appropriately installed when he gets to the Installer and the original raw materials
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that was used it’s essential for an example that the  consumer is not around during the installation that’s the the easiest way to make sure they’re not exposed, and therefore the dose is zero it’s you know they can’t be exposed to a hazardous or a toxic level if they’re not there and then the worker of the course has to be appropriately suited up in personal protective equipment so that
he’s not exposed okay all right so what are some things that you think contractors should do to protect themselves against legal action from a customer the contractor that does the actual installation will get most of his technical information from the manufacturer, and so it’s essential that the manufacturer first does a prudent work in the sense that they evaluated all of the aspects in the SPF life
I go from side a to be the cure in SPF. to the cured SPF and so if they have that information analyzed and reports provided to distributors and installers and safety data sheets for the entire the system then the Installer needs to be trained and conscious of that information mm-hmm, but I would reckon one of the things that I recommend to installers are that they avoid any a potential customer that has asthma known chemical sensitivities or COPD breathing problems because of those all of the cases that I’ve been involved are people that fall in one of those categories and so if that’s the first rule the second rule
is that they’re people that are doing the installation and the sales staff are properly trained so that they understand the hazards the risks and the no risks
with SPF and they can properly explain that to their potential customers yes because sometimes they’re
the first line of communication I don’t want to the different
expectations from the customer versus the Installer or his salesman and then also, it’s essential that the installers follow proper procedures maintain detailed records including photographs and monitor the project after the installation to make sure that it has all of the appearances of being proper well I know a few contractors who have a document that they have their customer’s sign that says that they have read and understood that it’s important for them to vacate the premises for either 24 to 48 hours and
they have that customer sign it what do you think about what’s one of the sharp pieces of evidence that would
protect the whole chain of command the Installer the distributor in the manufacturer in a lawsuit is that if a
customer sign that that’s strong evidence that they knew and they were properly informed but the cases that
I’ve been involved with didn’t have so it is one of the early indications that there is a potential for a lawsuit so if you take the two if you take off a customer a potential customer who has sensitivity say has asthma and
you don’t tell him about the effects or even if you do tell him about the effects potential effects and you don’t document it they’re liable to take you to court and say oh they didn’t tell me yeah so a simple piece of paper could
solve a lot yes absolutely okay now what can contractors do to protect themselves legally we’ll say an the employee develops a sensitivity to SPF of what are some what‘s some things that the contractor could plan or do in advance to dissuade that possibility well one of the things that’s critical when we talk about SPF is what do we mean by that mm-hmm and in a lawsuit the plaintiff, the homeowner, is going to say the when they use the term SPF they you almost always involve the side mm-hmm
because that’s the most hazardous component okay, but if the customer is not there during the installation they’re never exposed to the side, so we have to be careful here what the language was used because there is an
A-side and a B side a curing SPF and a cured SPF when we talk about SPF in the industry we’re talking about the
finished cured SPF, oh okay I’m talking about the side, we’re not talking about the B side because we use those terms to talk about the components that go into making SPF and there’s tremendous confusion in the industry not in the industry but in in the customer market
place about what is SPF and if you go on the Internet and you look up SPF you’ll find that all of the negative stuff is

about the side now that’s also the the side that workers have to be careful of because they can become sensitized if they don’t wear the proper personal protective equipment and the air supplied respirators and keep themselves from being exposed then they can become
sensitized to that and that’s a lifelong sensitization mm-hmm and so it’s critical that the workers protect themselves and that they make sure that the customer is not present when this stuff is being installed so that there
is zero exposure right so yes so if a company is putting all the proper safety into effect and they’re documenting things, they should not have an issue and you brought up a very good the point that I want to emphasize a little more you mentioned the difference between cured and curing so I think we need for our listeners anyway that we 
need to distinguish the difference between curing and cured that’s very good good point so when the Installer is
shooting the mist of the mixture into the wall or the ceiling roof applying it, it’s going on there as a reacting mixture mm-hmm and it actually swells up and that swelling up is a chemical reaction where there are air bubbles if you will or some form of gas that’s making the cells in the SPS
mm-hmm but after a few minutes that swelling stops mm-hmm but there are still, chemical reactions going on for
the next few hours it could be one or two or three hours and the curing the process continues and thinks of this now as let’s say it’s 2 or 3 inches thick reactions are going still at the the base of that installation when the the surface of it has already got a film on it and you can touch it, and it doesn’t stick to you you know those reactions are completed but as you move into the depth of the SPF the reactions are continuing and that’s partly why you wait for the homeowner to come back in 24 or 48 hours so that the full depth of that the reactions have stopped to know that the curing SPF is still having reactions ongoing and there are more chemical constituents in curing SPF and there are in the cured SPF where reactions have stopped so once the product is cured then essentially the chemical reaction stops, and it’s the side at that point and the B side as well there once they are cured there is no there’s no residual there’s nothing that anybody could come in
contact with that would be considered toxic in any way no the way thatit works is that the side reacts with the B side yes and forms this cure or curing or cured SPF H and so in that context when you have the cured SPF it’s a solid material think of it as a plastic mm-hmm or think of this a sponge that you use in the kitchen to wash dishes it’s a solid just like the sponge and so in that context when you touch the surface of it there is no reaction
there mm-hmm but there are cells in it they’re small in some casesmicroscopic cells if there if it’s closed cells
and if you cut into it then those cells can have some residual chemicals in them but they can’t come out through the top plastic or if they come out it’s at such
a low rate you can’t detect it okay and so it’s not of any concern but the the the surface of it is safe to touch and much of the components inside
ER at such low concentration because of these microscopic holes there’s not much
the chemical in there mm-hmm and most all of the chemicals have reacted to make that plastic candy what we call SPF or spray polyurethane foam no thank you for that yes you know it reminds me of what if you were talking about say a water molecule or h2o which is comprised of hydrogen and oxygen it’s you wouldn’t want to drink a glass of hydrogen gas but once it’s combined with the oxygen it’s perfectly safe to drink and we all drink it every day yes and those and in the context of the reactions to make water with the hydrogen and oxygen and
the water those are three different chemicals mm-hmm so hydrogen isn’t water

and oxygen is water but when you chemically react them you make water which is totally different and has different effects that are the same same thing is true with side a and side B there are two different mixtures of chemicals when you put those two mixtures together what comes out as SPF is a different
product okay all right so um now what what is your stance on the B side
chemical just as itself we’ve talked a lot about the ISO or the side what
about the B side, the B side by nature is less concerned than the side hmm
because of the chemicals that are used and their effects as pure chemicals
mm-hmm so they’re significantly less concern on the B side than there is on
the side but then there are some components in the B side that can cause
irritation kinds of effects irritating wheezing things if you’re exposed to
them and particularly in the manufacture of the B side where you’re working with concentrated things like amines but those materials are retained in the SPF cells at such small microscopic levels that one they don’t escape out of the cells after the curing process are completed and two the amounts that are there are so low that they wouldn’t cause adverse health effects very good all right thank you for that so well
what is the best way for companies to document that they have done all the
things that they should be doing to protect themselves well the first thing
the very first thing they do before they even get a customer is that they need to train their installers and sales staff they need to understand something about the chemistry the installers need to understand it because they need to
protect themselves both of them need to understand it so they can explain it to the customer hmm the salesman in closing the deal and the Installer
in the process of doing the installation they don’t want to they want to be
knowledgeable enough that they can keep the customers from being exposed mm-hmm.part of the way they do that is making
sure they have the safety data sheets from the manufacturer on each of these
so they can refer to them or they can refer the customer to them mm-hmm
they need to maintain what they have done with pictures mm-hmm
so because if you go to a lawsuit the A picture’s worth a thousand words
literally in court and then they need these detailed records as you indicated if they’ve got a signed document from the homeowner mm-hmm that
they recognize they’re not supposed to be in the home for at least 24 or 48
hours and the process also indicates that they have had the chemistry to
explain to them in layman’s terms that between the pictures and the signed
documents they’re very very effective but the installers also need to annually
monitor their employees for any potential health effects and in all cases I recommend that they carry liability insurance for those unfortunate circumstances where lawsuits evolve because they can be very expensive well I think that everything
you’re telling our listeners today is so crucial and critical and can just save
them so much you know and headaches the potential loss I just think that you
know that this is information that everybody should know how important our
SPF certifications in protecting oneself legally well in almost every case the
first question the plaintiff’s attorney the customer’s attorney is going to ask
the Installer when they’re deposed when they’re questioned mm-hmm is are you
certified I’m very first to question mm-hmm and they’re gonna want to see the
certification mm-hmm who gave it and what when and they’ll ask some detailed
questions about what was in the certification course because what
they’re trying to do in front of the judge or jury is to let the jury see
whether this Installer knows what he’s talking about yeah, so that’s the purpose of the certification training courses is to make them know so that they can protect themselves and their customers but that’s that certification
is is the first document that they’re they‘re going to ask for it’s really strengthened if the sales staff when they’re interviewed because they will be the resident or the customers can afford sale they didn’t tell me any of this stuff but if they have the signed document and the salesman when he’s depots can say here’s all the stuff I was certified in, and I told the customer, then it undermines the inherent financial risk for the employer
yes and I also want to clarify you know it isn’t just certifications or maybe
accreditations while those are important it could also be documented training or other types of education that are documented as well something like that
kind of document should be adequate as well it would be adequate but what what really comes across is that remember each of these participants in a installation or so that can be the installer and his assistant the sales
staff the project manager mm-hmm all ofthe levels in this process are going to
be deposed mm-hmm by the plaintiff’sattorney
mmm including the distributor and themanufacturer, they will have people who
are deposed, and so it’s important inthose depositions that when the
attorneys ask detailed questions thinkabout it is chemistry or health effects
or protection processes with signage ordocumentation that the

communications are given to the customer all of that

stuff becomes evidence in the court mm-hmm and so the more certifications
that is had in that chain within the the whole industry and the easier it is to
win the cases oh very good okay so um your experiences in court let’s say in a
lawsuit how do you demonstrate that SPF chemistry makes it a safe product I know that you have some extensive PowerPoint presentations and you have tried to get the word out in several ways I and this could be something that you would want people to come to your website to learn more about I’m just not sure how deep of a question I’m asking so I don’t know how you might
want to respond to this right now well first of all, it’s essential that
everybody in the business including the customer understands what we mean by SPF and and and within that concept of spray polyurethane foam there’s an Aside there’s a B side there’s curing SPF source reactions are still taking place
and there are cured SPF and what the customer is exposed to if they’re not
coming in within 24 or 40 hours is the cured SPF mm-hmm and so it’s it’s
critical that that chemistry is understood and when I have participated
as an expert on these lawsuits I simply keep focusing because what the opposing
attorneys trying to do is talk about the dangers of a side ah uh-huh but that’s
not what the customers exposed to the customers exposed to the cured SPF there
is no azide left yes because it’s reactive Munich yes yes so when you
communicate that chemistry to a judge or jury they can understand the importance
of semantics here in the language of the process mm-hmm and it’s straightforward to prove in a court of law that cured SPF
is safe thank you particularly when you acknowledge that the side’s hazardous
which it is it’s hazardous and anybody takes exposed to it whether it’s a
worker or the or the resident so you don’t want those people exposed the
a worker wears complete protective personal protective equipment the
the resident shouldn’t be there when there’s any SP any aside and that usually is
gone within the first one to three hours they can’t detect it anymore so the the
chemistry speaks for itself, but you have to focus on the chemistry whether you’re
talking about making SPF safe for the you or workers talking about weight
making SPF safe for the residents and the homeowner hmm it’s about
making sure the chemistry is done properly and all procedures are are
properly followed All parties, thank you dr. Thompson this
has been a fascinating topic and I’m sure tremendously worthwhile to
everyone connected with the SPF industry if people want to know more, be sure to visit ArmorThane.com