About the Adhesives Technology Project
Traditionally, this industry has depended on chlorinated, nonflammable, solvent-based adhesives to produce manufactured products, such as foam furniture. Recent federal and state regulations are causing rapid changes in adhesive solvent use, however. The industry was forced to move from ozone-depleting trichloroethane and methylene chloride to other potentially dangerous solvents. Methylene chloride is a hazardous air pollutant (HAP), and recent OSHA regulations lowered the permissible exposure limit (PEL) from 500 ppm to a very restrictive 25 ppm. Some of the alternative solvents to methylene chloride are flammable, and some have toxic exposures or are considered volatile organic compounds (VOCs), subject to restrictions. The industry is concerned that safe, affordable, and effective adhesives are not readily available.
The Institute for Research and Technical Assistance (IRTA), a former DfE grantee, developed a Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment (CTSA) for application in the fabricated foam furniture and sleep products industry. This document is available at http://eerc.ra.utk.edu/ccpct/aap1.html. IRTA conducted several tests and demonstration and analyses projects over the last several years and has had extensive experience working with this industry as well as interested stakeholders. To initiate the CTSA and verification project, IRTA sponsored a stakeholders meeting in September 1998, where the attending stakeholders discussed the overall industry and the focus and boundaries of the project. They agreed to limit the project to the fabricated foam furniture and sleep products (mattresses) industries.