From Handbook of Polymer Foams

5.8 Environmental Issues

In today s world, most industries have had to answer questions about the environmental impact of their products. The FPF industry is no exception, and despite a long history of significant gains, there is still room for improvement. In fact, more than half of the papers presented at the Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) meetings since 2000 have dealt with safety or environmental issues [103]. Many fair concerns have been raised, while other claims are based on perception rather than science and the critics aim to try the industry in the court of public opinion. Often, spurious claims do more harm than good because they distract the industry and the public from meaningful issues that could be improved. In all, the environmental stakeholders can be divided into four groups: plant workers, neighbours, consumers and the general public. Today, many companies in the FPF industry adhere to Responsible Care (registered trademark of the American Chemistry Council) guidelines that make safety and environmental considerations an integral part of the decision making process [104].

Plant workers are mainly concerned about the dangers they face during their working lives. This includes acute and chronic effects of the chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process as well as potential hazards from physical dangers such as falling objects, cutting saws, falls, fires and other aspects of the manufacturing environment. Workplace safety is primarily the responsibility of owners, management, and the workers themselves. Organisations such as the Occupational Health and...

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