ACC highlights importance of PU products that align with UN Sustainable Development Goals of promoting health and well-being; group emphasizes use of PU in medical applications

Sample article from our Sustainability & Social Responsibility

July 28, 2023 (press release) –

Introduced in 2015, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were issued to help provide guidance to businesses and organizations on achieving their sustainability targets in various sectors.  For example, the focus of Sustainable Development Goal number 3, is to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being.” Polyurethanes, one of the most versatile materials, can help meet these goals in multiple ways.

Polyurethanes are used in a number of appliances that, in addition to helping prevent food from spoiling, can provide safe storage for pharmaceuticals and extend their shelf life. Polyurethane foam can help keep pharmaceuticals at an appropriate temperature while being shipped through a process known as cold chain shipping. This helps provide medical professionals access to lifesaving pharmaceuticals during global health crises. Essential health services, like pharmaceuticals, can help stop the spread of deadly diseases.

Polyurethanes are also commonly used in a number of medical applications, including catheter and general-purpose tubing, hospital bedding, surgical drapes, wound dressings and a variety of injection-molded devices. Their most common use is in short-term implants. Polyurethanes in medical applications can be more cost-effective and provide for more longevity and toughness.

Certain types of polyurethane foams are widely used as energy absorbing materials, especially in sport and leisure applications. Protective body armor and football helmets are good examples where the impact mitigation properties of these materials are helping athletes practice their favorite sport safely.

Another use for polyurethanes that plays a vital role in protecting our health is water filtration. Some drinking water treatment uses reticulated polyurethane foam as its filtration media.

Polyurethanes can help your health and well-being at home too. Polyurethane mattresses and sleeping pads can be efficiently packaged and shipped to consumers around the world. These products help improve sleeping conditions and provide a more sanitary sleeping environment. Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental and physical health, quality of life, and safety. In addition, the supportive properties of flexible polyurethane foam pillows can be beneficial in reducing neck pain compared to chiropractic treatment alone.

Polyurethane products help contribute to longer-lasting pharmaceuticals, medical applications, and a better night’s sleep, thus advancing better health and well-being outcomes and helping to extend and promote healthier lives. This is not the only SDG that polyurethane products can help contribute to. This is the second blog in an ongoing series highlighting polyurethanes’ role in numerous SDGs. Learn more about how polyurethane products support efforts to end hunger.

To learn more about the polyurethane industry overall, visit the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) website to access resources detailing polyurethanes’ benefits and uses as well as its impact on the U.S. economy. Follow CPI’s LinkedIn page for the latest news on the polyurethane industry and to connect with other polyurethane professionals.

In addition, learn more about how the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and its members’ sustainability priorities on ACC’s Chemistry & Sustainability webpage.

About the Author
Ian Choiniere
American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.


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