Material Safety Data Sheet
Florists use green Oasis floral foam to model arrangements and allow flowers to soak and drink water. In short, floral foams can be almost every floral arrangement you buy or send.
Floral foam is basically a plastic. Being a plastic, floral foam is not exactly perfect for you and the environment. I suppose we have not developed a biodegradable foam as yet. This makes it hard because flower arranging would not be the same without such a product. You could go back to the old days of floristry and use hay, chicken wire, curled branches, and balls of wire. These take a great deal of time to prepare. Unfortunately time is money these days.
I always wonder why florists do not avoid plastics like foam but also understand that for commercial reasons, they have no choice.
GENERAL INFORMATION MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET (MSDS)
Floral foam is an open cell plastic. It is a green fine-celled thermoset phenolic plastic foam.
It contains formaldehyde, carbon black, proprietarty acid catalysts, proprietarty sulfactant and barium sulphate.
Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde and carbon black may cause cancer. The concentration of these ingredients in foam are very small.
It is a degradable plastic (eventually will break down to dust) but NOT biodegradable (completely break down to its natural form).
Some of these ingredients may be harmful to the environment.
Use floral foam in a well ventilated environment.
Store in a cool, dry well ventilated area, out of direct sunlight. Foam stored in stagnant or hot enclosures may result in off-gassing of residual formaldehyde gas.
Finished foam will support combustion if it is ignited by direct contact with an open flame or exposed to temperatures in the range of 300C.
Do not put foam into a microwave as it will burn after an extended period of time. Combustion occurs at the centre of the brick and due to the insulating effect of the foam, can proceed unnoticed until an appreciable heat build up occurs.
EXPOSURE TO FLORAL FOAM
When being exposed to or using floral foam, the two main concerns to consider are contact with the foam and inhalation of the dust.
Possible outcomes: Using floral foam may cause irritation to skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.
Respiratory protection: If dust is excessive, a dust mask is recommended. Use floral foam in a well ventilated environment.
Inhalation care: Remove from exposure to fresh air. If breathing has stopped, give artificial respiration. Oxygen may be given if breathing is difficult. Get medical attention.
Acute: Dust or fumes may cause irritation to the nasal passages, lacrimation, olfactory changes, and pulmonary changes.
Inhalation of heptane fumes may irritate the respiratory tract producing light headedness, dizziness, muscle incoordination, CNS depression and narcosis.
Chronic: Prolonged exposure to formaldehyde and/or carbon black may cause cancer.
Eye protection: If dust is excessive, safety glasses are recommended. Use floral foam in a well ventilated environment.
Eye contact care: Flush thoroughly with water for 15 minutes, occasionally lifting the upper and lower lids, until no evidence of the material remains. Get medical attention if irritation develops. If wearing contact lens, remove immediately and flush eyes as above.
Acute: Contact may be irritating.
Chronic: May cause conjunctivitis.
CONTACT WITH FOAM
Skin protection: Use barrier cream or choose appropriate protective gloves. Wash thoroughly after handling. Observe good personal and industrial hygiene procedures.
When foam is soaked or used in water, some low levels of residual formaldehyde may accumulate in tub water. Repeated skin immersion in water containing formaldehyde has caused skin rashes, particularly in sensitive persons.
It is recommended that impervious latex or chemical resistant gloves be worn and water tubs be emptied regularly.
Skin contact care: Wash affected area with soap and water until no evidence of the material remains. Get medical attention if irritation develops.
Acute: May cause irritation.
Chronic: May cause dermatitis. Frequent or prolonged exposure to formaldehyde can cause hypersensitivity leading to contact dermatitis.
Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. Treat symptomatically and supportively. If a large quantity is ingested, get medical attention since there could be a problem with physical blockage.
Acute: May cause mouth irritation due to local pH effect. Swallowing formaldehyde may cause violent vomiting and diarrhea.
Aspiration of heptane into lungs can produce severe lung damage.
Chronic: Prolonged exposure may cause symptoms similar to acute effects.