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floral foam and a formaldehyde substitute

From: Lois Epstein@EDF on 07/14/99 02:49 PM

Subject:  floral foam and a formaldehyde substitute

This is a question from Ohio Citizen Action:

---------------------- Forwarded by Lois Epstein on 07/14/99 02:44 PM

From: Jennifer O'Donnell <jodonnell@ohiocitizen.org> on 07/14/99 06:43 PM

To:   Lois Epstein
Subject:  floral foam

We have been talking with a floral foam manufacturer in Kent, OH about
their plans for reducing n-hexane and formaldehyde emissions to air. The
foam, called Oasis, is the stuff that florists use to anchor their
arrangements because it is retains water and prolongs the life of the
arrangement. They have substituted heptane for the n-hexane, which is used
as a blowing agent to make the liquid rise into foam. Regarding
formaldehyde, they have been tinkering with a resin that contains less
formaldehyde, but told us that they will never get to zero on formaldehyde.
(They are projecting a reduction from 10,700 pounds of formaldehyde to air
in 1997 to 2000 pounds in 1999; their 1998 estimate is 6,800 pounds.)
My question is: is it possible to substitute for formaldehyde, or is it the
case that they can't make floral foam without it? I'd appreciate any advice
you can get. Thanks.

Lois N. Epstein, P.E.
Senior Engineer
Environmental Defense Fund (Washington, DC)