MIDLAND, Mich. -- The Dow Chemical Co. says it has developed a new, low-volatile organic compound (VOC) copolymer polyol process. The new process technology addresses growing industry demand for low-VOC products and maintains the product performance expected by flexible slabstock and molded foams customers.

“A flexible foam producers expect continuing pressures to reduce overall emissions from their operations and finished products, they look to Dow's innovative chemistry to provide solutions,'' said Marco Levi, global business director of Flexible Polyurethanes. “In response to these expectations, Dow's customers have specifically highlighted their need for reduced levels of residual styrene monomer in copolymer polyols.''

Voralux HL400 and Specflex NC700 polyols from Dow are now produced with a residual styrene monomer specification of less than 20 ppm, with even lower production targets. Users will experience the same benefits from the improved products, such as consistency, load-building capability, and viscosity, that they have come to expect, plus they will now receive the additional advantage of low residual styrene monomer, Dow said.

The new copolymer polyol chemistry was commercialized in February in Dow's Freeport, Texas site and Dow is already supplying copolymer polyol customers in North America with the revamped product. Dow plans to implement the new technology in its European operations by mid-2002.

Dow's polyurethanes business, a leading supplier of polyurethane raw materials, offers one of the broadest lines of polyurethane products in the industry. Dow's raw materials are used in rigid foams, flexible foams, adhesives, sealants, coatings, elastomers and agrifibers, as well as many other applications. Applications for these products cover a wide range of end uses, including cushioning for furniture and bedding, carpet backing, automotive seating and instrument panels, office furniture, flooring, and insulation for appliances, sheathing and roofing.