Polyurethane is commonly used in a wide variety of applications in modern life. Some of its applications include building insulation, furniture and bedding, footwear, automotive, coatings and adhesives. It is used in many versatile applications because of its ease of implementation. Despite this advantage, polyurethane also has some disadvantages.
Short life is a major disadvantage of polyurethane products. Polyurethane has hydroscopic tendencies, i.e. water absorption characteristics. Mattresses made from polyurethane absorb water and gradually disintegrate and lose their quality of support. Polyurethane adhesives and sealants have the same problem. In addition, the durability of polyurethane paints is adversely affected when exposed to direct sunlight or organic solvents.
Polyurethane emits odors and fumes, though they're not that highly noticeable. The petroleum-based chemicals and flame retardant fumes cause physical problems; especially in case of mattresses and paints, this becomes irritating. Prolonged exposure to this smell may make people ill. Woodworkers who use polyurethane finish also encounter overwhelming fumes.
Polyurethane is widely used in many applications like bedding, building insulation, footwear and paints. ESP Energy research shows that polyurethane releases toxic fumes that are not healthy to inhale. People who are over exposed to polyurethane experience health problems including allergic reactions, rashes, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness and even blindness. If your eyes or skin come in contact with polyurethane foam, clean and rinse them thoroughly to avoid health problems.
Polyurethane foam emits toxic fumes if burned. Some blowing agents in polyurethane produce greenhouse gases that have negative effects on the atmosphere. Some polyurethane foam contains non-renewable fossil fuels that adversely affect the environment. Though it is not as toxic as many other chemicals, it still harms the environment.
Michel Charles has been a writing coach since 2007 and became a copywriter in 2010. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work and creative writing from the University of South Florida.