WorkSafeBC recently published a new safety bulletin about reducing the risk of pentane gas fires and explosions. Expanded polystyrene is a synthetic foam material that has a wide range of uses in many industries. Some of its applications include insulation in buildings (especially cold storage buildings), piping, concrete formwork, and wine tanks; wharf and float manufacturing; and applications on movie sets and amusement parks.
EPS foam releases pentane – a highly flammable gas. If the pentane has not completely off-gassed, and the EPS foam is encased within the structure, the pentane becomes trapped. If an ignition source such as a welding torch or drill cuts into the structure, the pentane can ignite and cause a fire or explosion.