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Information Sheet (updated 12/4/02)

  1. In Wayne County, heavy public opposition and the threat of lawsuits that would hold up the project caused Flexible Foam to look to Archbald. Source: Scranton Times.

  2. Flexible Foam Products in 1996, ranked 13’th in the top 25 worst polluters of companies and facilities releasing the greatest amount of recognized carcinogens. Source: Sierra Club.

  3. Lackawana County residents already face a cancer risk from air pollutants up to 54 times higher than what the federal standards consider safe according to an EPA assessment this year. Source: Scranton Times.

  4. Flexible Foam Products will be transporting into our community, using in their manufacturing process and emitting into the air several know hazardous, toxic and carcinogenic substances including toluene diisocyanate (TDI). According to the EPA, repeated exposure to TDI causes cumulative decrease in lung function. The EPA considers five of these substances to be hazardous to human health and to the environment. Three of these five are known carcinogens which even at acceptable emission levels are dangerous to humans, particularly the elderly, children, pregnant women and their fetuses, plant and water life. Source: Various – including Archbald Borough Council, EPA.

  5. Flexible Foam Products emissions permit for the proposed Archbald plant will allow them to release 39.04 ton of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) into the air on an annual basis. Source: DEP.

  6. Flexible Foam Products has been put on OSHA’s 2001 (Occupational Safety and Health Administrations) watch list of companies put on notice to fix safety and health hazards. Source: OSHA.

  7. In July 2002, Flexible Foam Products in Portage, Wisconsin was cited by OSHA for wrongly storing flammable and combustible materials – a “serious violation”, and for not having a written plan in place telling employees what to do in case of an emergency. Source: Portage Daily Register.

  8. Flexible Foam Products claims that the manufacturing process to be used in its proposed Arcbald plant is a “safer” process” – the same as used in its facility in Portage, Wisconsin. Source: Jim Siddons – Borough Council President.

  9. In 2002 alone, four fires have broken out at the Portage Wisconsin facility. These fires have resulted in evacuations, responses by HAZMAT Teams and emergency medical technicians, and the “wash down” and treatment of 12 employees at hospitals for exposure to fumes from an improperly mixed batch of polyurethane foam. According to a hospital spokesperson, “toluene (TDI) exposure can cause respiratory problems, affect the nervous system and cause pulmonary edema”. Source: Portage Daily Register.

  10. In response to the above mentioned fire, Jim Whisman, manager of the foam line and a 29 year veteran had this to say: “If the water ratio isn’t just right during the transition of one foam to another, a chemical reaction can produce too much heat and begin to fume. “If not caught in time, the foam can burst into flames.”
    “Every foam plant in the USA has these hot transitions.” “The misfortune of today was the wind blowing the wrong way” Source: Portage Daily Register.

  11. In one fire, the burning foam produced a dense, black smoke through which the source of the fire could only be detected with a thermal imaging camera. Source: Portage Daily Register.

  12. Archbald Borough doesn’t have the capability to respond to a HAZMAT spill according to Lackawana County Emergency Management Agency. The county would need to send out either TEEM Environmental or Datom Products to respond. The response time would be 20 minutes minimum. Source: LCEMA

  13. According to PA DEP storage tank office in Harrisburg, Flexible Foam has submitted a construction permit to install 4 above ground storage tanks for 6,000 gallon of Aromatic Oil – combustible; 6,000 gallon of Methyl Diisocyanate (MDI) – very flammable; two 12,000 gallons of TDI, very flammable. Source: PADEP.

  14. Flexible Foam Products is seeking a permit that would allow them to store a total of 24,000 gallons of TDI. According to the BASF Corp. TDI Handbook, A LARGE SPILL – WHICH IS CLASSIFIED AS ONLY 10 GALLONS – REQUIRES A DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY.