Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Environmental and Occupational Health

Major Professor

Steven P. Mlynarek, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Yehia Y. Hammad, Sc.D.

Committee Member

John C. Smyth, Ph.D.


4, 4'-diphenylmethane diisocyanate, cascade impactor, isocyanates, particle size, particle-size selective sampling, spray polyurethane foam insulation


Spray Polyurethane Foam insulation (SPF) kits are currently being marketed and sold to do-it-yourselfers to meet various insulating needs. Like commercial SPF systems, the primary health concern with SPF kits is user overexposure to the isocyanates during product application. The potential health risk associated with SPF applications is driven by several factors including (but not limited to): the toxicity of isocyanates; the potentially high exposure intensity; the quantity of isocyanates used in the process; the enclosed nature of the environment in which the product could be applied; the potentially high exposure duration/frequency; and the limited availability of control measures to reduce agent intensity (e.g., personal protective equipment, dilution ventilation). To better understand the potential hazards associated with the use of SPF kits, the current study was designed to provide an initial characterization of user exposure to airborne particulate during the application process. Specifically, the study would aim to answer the following:

* What is the particle size distribution of the aerosol a SPF kit user is exposed to during application?

* What is the airborne particle mass concentration a SPF kit user is exposed to during application?

To answer these questions, a single commercially available SPF kit was selected for use and a mock residential environment was constructed to support repeated applications of SPF. Size-selective and total dust air sampling were conducted during the applications to determine the particle size distribution and mass concentration of aerosols generated by the selected kit. The particle size distributions developed from the size selective sampling results showed the presence of airborne particulate capable of penetration to the gas exchange regions of the respiratory tract. The average mass median diameter and geometric standard deviation of the particle size distributions were 4.6 µm and 2.7 respectively. The total dust sampling results showed mean airborne concentrations of 10.40 mg/m3. Based on the sampling results the study, personal air monitoring is needed to assess the degree of user exposure to methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and to provide information for the selection of exposure control methods.