At Some Point, We Need More Regulation If SPF Continues To Be Used In Residential Use

Is it the fact we are up against big chemical companies that it is too much to ask for some regulation when it comes to using really harmful chemicals in our homes???

The raw ingredients of spray foam insulation are hazardous and so much depends on how the insulation is installed so why is it that there is no regulatory body looking over this??

Thank you Richard Beyer for your hard work, passion and dedication to making our homes safer.  Keep it up.

Too bad some folks are so easily bought.  It will be interesting to see the stance that is taken when someone they know and love is effected by SPF.

The CT Mirror had this article today

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed a bill Monday that would have required the state to establish standards for the spray polyurethane foam insulation industry. It is the governor’s first veto of 2013.

“I am quite shocked that he vetoed this,” said Richard Beyer of East Lyme, a homeowner whose complaints about the industry led to the bill.  “That’s very disappointing. The public needed something like this.”

Beyer complained to the legislature’s General Law Committee about an insulation job that left his 120-year-old family home reeking of acrid fumes that burned his eyes and compromised his lungs.

The bill was passed unanimously by the House and Senate.

“Everybody was in favor of this bill,” Beyer said. “For the governor to veto a bill to protect the consumer, it just makes it another sad day in Connecticut.”

The state Department of Public Health opposed the bill in public hearing testimony, warning legislators that “developing standards for installing SPF for the entire industry is beyond the resources and area of expertise of CT DPH.”

Malloy said in his veto message that he agreed with the health department.

“While I share the concerns that have been expressed by the supporters of this bill, I am concerned that the bill provides insufficient guidance as to the scope or objectives of the required regulations,” Malloy wrote.

A better approach would be to encourage credentialing and training for installers in accordance with industry standards that have been developed with federal worker safety and environmental agencies, he said.

Beyer said those standards are insufficient.

The spray-foam industry is unusual in that the product is manufactured in the home as two chemicals are mixed to create an expanding foam that dries to form an air-tight insulation layer.

Beyer said the product is commonly featured on “This Old House” and other home-improvement shows as a state-of-the-art method on making a house air tight. But not every crew is capable, he said.

“Every other building product in your home was manufactured in a controlled factory setting,” he said in his testimony. “If these products are not mixed properly, they will fail. It’s not if, it’s when. Is your health worth the risk?”

Beyer said his story is a common one, even though he was the only homeowner to testify at the public hearing.

“My home is one of many homes, unfortunately. This isn’t something speical that happened to me. This is going on acoss the country,” he said.

Other homeowners are afraid to tell a story that will devalue their house.

“Nobody wants their home labeled,” he said.

Rep. Ed Jutila, D-East Lyme, said Beyer had made a strong case.

“My constituent has done a tremendous amout of research on the spray foam insulation industry, and he is passionate about the need for regulation,” Jutila said.

Jutila said the governor erred in his veto message when he indicated that the vetoed bill also would have been redundant, since another bill established a certification program for certain types of spray foam insulation.

“That’s really all about certification that the manufacturer has to give about his product itself,” Jutila said. “It doesn’t really have anything to do about regulating the process and applying it out in the field, which is where the real damage can be done.”

In its testimony, a half-dozen industry representatives said the solution to bad consumer-experiences is an industry certification program.

Ellen Blaschinksi, the chief of regulatory services for the Department of Public Health, agreed in her written testimony.

“Our public health role is better suited to identifying and evaluating health risks and providing risk communication to help the public make informed choices about using these materials in CT home/buildings,” she said.

Beyer said he’s been told it would cost $150,000 to restore his home.

Well Documeted SPF Concerns/Dangers from Passive House

I found this in PHIUS Tech Corner, June, 2012; Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation

Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation and Passive House.
How SPF is made
In order to create SPF insulation in large quantities under high pressure, a chemical
reaction of the two component parts, commonly referred to as “Side A” and “Side B”, has to occur. In commercial SPF systems, the A and B sides are mixed in a 1:1 volumetric ratio [1]. In large-scale applications, these two components are typically stored separately in 55 gallon drums.
Side A contains chemicals known as isocyanates. Side B primarily contains a polyol,
which reacts with isocyanates to make urethane. The most common isocyanate compound used in SPF is methylene diphenyl diisocyanates (MDI) [2].
Side B is a proprietary blend of chemicals in addition to the polyol that allow formulators to
tailor the performance properties of the final polyurethane. Other materials contained in Side B
normally include [2]:
• Blowing agents
• Flame retardants
• Amine or metal catalysts
• Surfactants
Since Side B is a proprietary blend of chemicals, the identity of some of these chemicals
is not known, nor are the proportions, except to the manufacturers and formulators. The best available information indicates that the flame retardant most commonly used in spray
polyurethane foam insulation is TCPP (Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate) (1). TCPP is
combined with a reactive brominated compound to form a polymeric brominated flame retardant
[1]. TDCPP (Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate) is also used as a flame retardant.
In small applications, when pressurized 16 oz. cans are used, the SPF components are
pre-mixed in controlled amounts along with a propellant. However, some “do-it-yourselfer”
supplies now come in the separate two part formulations, typically in 5lb, 10lb, 40lb, or greater, low pressure cylinders.
SPFs made with soy or other natural or bio-based ingredients
SPF is made primarily from petroleum derived chemicals. Some SPF may be advertised
as being “green”, “natural” or, “environmentally friendly”, due to having been partially made
from natural ingredients, such as soy bean oil, castor oil, and other bio-based oils, etc. However, these oils may only be a low percentage of the Side B mixture and still be advertised as green ornatural [15]. Current technology limits the use of natural oil polyols to about 1/3 of the total polyols, as excessive use of natural oils can affect the dimensional stability of SPF [1].
Typically, the balance of the polyol used in Side B is still petroleum derived, as are the
isocyanates in Side A – 50% of the total mixture.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed new regulations
requiring at least 51% of the total product formulation be from natural ingredients in order for a product to be called bio-based [16]. If finalized, this new regulation would prevent SPF from being labeled “bio-based”.

It then goes on to mention…

Human health/indoor air quality concerns with SPF
There can be health risks from exposure to isocyanates and some of the other ingredients,
used to manufacture SPF insulation [4], [2], [5]. The primary health risks are from exposure
during the installation stage while the foam insulation is being sprayed [4], [2], [5]. Health risks are of most concern for spray foam workers, and possibly other workers in the spraying area, especially if they are not properly protected [4], [2], [5].
However, homeowners or building occupants may also be at risk if certain precautions
are not taken [4], [2], [5]. More recently, there have been reports from homeowners of incorrect installations of spray foam that have triggered health problems and indoor odor issues [17], [18].
Researchers and manufacturers are looking into these incidents as well as currently investigating any long-term health effects associated with the product [1].
Isocyanates, the primary ingredient in SPF, are well known inhalation and dermal
“sensitizers” that can trigger a severe or fatal asthma attack in some people who become
sensitized, even at very low levels [2]. A sensitizing chemical is one that after multiple repeat exposures, may cause the human body to react in an abnormal or over-reactive way, even to extremely low doses, when initial exposures may not have had an impact. The more the body is exposed to the chemical the more it has a negative reaction to it. In some cases, certain individuals can quickly become sensitized to these types of chemicals such that there are no safe levels of exposure [2], [19].
Isocyanates are the leading attributable cause of work-place related asthma [2], [19]. SPF
insulation also contains potentially hazardous amine catalysts, blowing agents, flame retardants and other constituents [2].
With the widespread and increasing use of SPF insulation, unnecessary exposure for SPF
applicators and other trade workers or other building occupants (e.g., homeowners, children, office workers, etc.) may occur if proper precautions are not taken during the spray applications and shortly after.
While applying SFP, aerosols and vapors are generated that can be inhaled or come in
contact with the eyes or skin. Potential sensitization may occur through exposures on the skin as well as through inhalation [2]. Individuals, in particular installers of SPF as well as
homeowners, with a history of skin conditions, respiratory allergies, asthma, or prior isocyanate sensitization should carefully review product information when considering the use of SPF products and may want to consider other insulation alternatives. This especially applies to high pressure applications but also to low pressure applications. With low pressure applications,which mechanically mix the A and B side chemicals inside a nozzle, instead of impingement mixing of aerosolized chemicals in high-pressure foams, the amount of vapors and aerosols tends to be lower, but they are still generated during installation [1].
Manufacturers who have prepared complete and accurate SPF Material Safety Data
Sheets (MSDS) typically recommend in the MSDS that individuals undergo medical surveillance prior to working with these materials, and individuals with a history of medical conditions such as asthma, be restricted from working with isocyanates [20].
The following were noted in the 2006 National Institutes of Occupational Safety and
Health (NIOSH) Alert — Preventing Asthma and Death from MDI Exposure during Truck Bed Liner and Related Applications [19]. NIOSH issued this, and a 1996 Alert, in follow up to worker deaths after exposure to isocyanate containing polyurethane automobile paint and exposure to isocyanates in polyurethane foam manufacturing. NIOSH concluded that the
potential for exposure to isocyanates from spraying polyurethane foam insulation is very similar to these prior incidents [19].
• “Isocyanates have been reported to be the leading attributable chemical cause of work-related asthma,.
• Exposure to isocyanates can cause contact dermatitis, skin and respiratory tract irritation, sensitization,
and asthma.
• Both skin and inhalation exposures can lead to respiratory responses.
• Isocyanates can cause “sensitization,” which means that some people may become allergic to isocyanates
and could experience allergic reactions including: itching and watery eyes, skin rashes, asthma, and
other breathing difficulties. Symptoms may also be delayed up to several hours after exposure. If you are allergic or become sensitized, even low concentrations of isocyanates can trigger a severe asthma attack or other lung effects, or a potentially fatal reaction.
• Some workers who become sensitized to isocyanates are subject to severe asthma attacks if they are exposed again. Death from severe asthma in some sensitized persons has been reported.
• Sensitization may result from either a single exposure to a relatively high concentration or repeated exposures to lower concentrations over time.
• Even if you do not become sensitized to isocyanates, they may still irritate your skin and lungs, and many years of exposure can lead to permanent lung damage and respiratory problems.
• All skin contact should be avoided since contact with skin may lead to respiratory sensitization or cause other allergic reactions.
• Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be used during all activities that may present exposure to any isocyanate compounds to avoid sensitization.”
As mentioned above, Side B contains a blend of proprietary chemicals that provide unique
properties to the foam, and may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Given this, it is
difficult to precisely identify all potential health effects of the Side B components, but the
following is reported [2].
• Catalysts may be amine or metal catalysts. Amine catalysts in SPF can be sensitizers and irritants that can cause blurry vision (halo-effect) [21], [22].
• Flame retardants, such as halogenated compounds, can be persistent, bioaccumulative, and/or toxic chemicals (PBTs). Some examples include:
 TCPP -(Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate)  TEP -(Triethyl phosphate)
 TDCPP (Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate)
• Blowing agents may have adverse health effects, as well as be green house gases.
• Some surfactants may be linked to endocrine disruption [2].
Recently, the State of California released a study indicating that TDCPP has a carcinogenic
effect in laboratory test rats [23].
Potential for exposure to these chemicals
Exposures to SPF chemicals may occur through a variety of ways depending on whether it
is the SPF applicator(s) and other workers, or the owner or resident of a building that is being SPF insulated.  When SPF installation is ongoing, the work site should be restricted to only trained persons wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) [4], [2], [5]. NIOSH (and the industry represented by CPI and SPFA) recommend that PPE for SPF workers include [4], [19]:
• Full-face supplied-air respirator (with a pump/filter/hose supplying fresh air).
• Face mask, with a peel-off shield for clear visibility as foam aerosols will coat the mask
after a duration of spraying.
• Full body suit and chemical-resistant gloves and boots.
• All exposed skin must be fully covered.
• A ventilation system to ventilate the work area, during and after spraying.
• NIOSH also recommends a containment structure or enclosure for the area where
spraying is occurring.
During spraying, vapors and aerosols of isocyanates and the other components are
generated. Research data indicate that inhalation exposures without PPE to isocyanates during
SPF installation will typically exceed OSHA occupational exposure limits (OELs) [19]. In
addition, vapors and aerosols can migrate through a building if the spray area is not isolated and properly ventilated. After application, vapors may linger in a building until properly ventilated.
This supports current practice to vacate the premises during installation and for a specified
period of time following installation.
Cutting or trimming the foam after it hardens may generate dust and particles that contain
unreacted isocyanates and other chemicals [2]. After application, foam dust may linger in a
building until properly ventilated and thoroughly vacuumed.
Unprotected (without PPE) homeowners or residents should not be present when a high
pressure foam application is ongoing in the house. A homeowner or resident could also be
exposed to isocyanates and the other chemicals if they re-enter the structure too soon after application [2], [24], [25].
Another important factor relating to the potential exposure to isocyanates and the other
components is the time it takes for the SPF to cure. Curing of SPF means that the chemicals in the product are reacting to produce polyurethane foam. SPF may appear hardened or “tack-free within a range of a few seconds to a few minutes after application. However, at this stage, the foam is still curing and still contains unreacted SPF chemicals and may still be off-gassing these
chemicals [2].
Some estimates indicate that it can take approximately 24-72 hours after application for
the foam to fully cure for the two-component high pressure “professional” SPF systems, and approximately 8 to 24 hours to cure for one component foam available in the small cans, but more research is needed to account for the potential variability of curing rates. [4], [2], [5]
The curing time may vary depending on the type of SPF product (open or closed cell),
product formulation, applicator technique, foam thickness, temperature, humidity and other factors, which will impact re-occupancy time. Temperature and humidity play a critical roll in the curing of SPF ingredients as does proper installation (applicator training, technique and maintenance and quality of the equipment that is used). More research is needed to understand the role these variables play in future potential off-gassing.
A homeowner who is erroneously advised they can stay in a house without PPE while the
SPF is being installed, can be exposed to unhealthful levels of the spray foam chemicals. Or, if they return to the house too soon after spraying, may also be exposed to high levels. Likewise, ifsomething went wrong during the installation and the foam has yet to cure, or never does fully cure, then exposures can also occur when the home is re-occupied.
The US EPA states, if home or building occupants have concerns that they may be
exposed to residual SPF chemicals, potential off-gassing, or continue to smell odors, they should contact their SPF contractor to ensure proper procedures and clean-up were followed [2]. If their concerns are not resolved, affected parties should contact their local or state consumer protection office or contractors’ licensing board. Consumers can also file an online Consumer Product Incident Report with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the SaferProducts.govwebsite [2].
Additional pathways of exposure to SPF chemicals for homeowners and residents, as
well as workers, after the foam insulation is installed may include heat-generating processes such as drilling, welding, soldering, grinding, sawing, or sanding on or near SPF insulation [2]. This may generate a range of airborne degradation chemicals including isocyanates, amines, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, or nitrogen oxides [2]. These potential releases raise possible concerns for future renovations, alterations and even demolition.
Fires involving SPF may release isocyanates, hydrogen cyanide, amines, and other highly
toxic chemicals into the air. Fire departments have issued advisories and require the use of full supplied air respirators for firefighters when fighting fires with burning polyurethane foam insulation.

Reported problems with the use of SPF
Since 2009, homeowners or others have been reporting spray polyurethane foam
insulation problems to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) [17]. A review of the
reporting at the time this article was written, reveals there have been at least six cases reported to CPSC where homeowners have become sick after installation of SPF insulation in their homes
A recent paper in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reported the
first documented case of SPF isocyanate-induced asthma in two otherwise healthy homeowners
who were allowed to return to their home too soon after the attic was spray foamed [25].
There are also numerous other reports of spray foam off-gassing causing health problems
on consumer-sponsored spray foam websites and in green building blogs [26], [18], [27]. Health
effects such as headaches, chest pains, eye, and throat irritation, rashes and coughs and asthmalike
symptoms are reported.
Lingering, irritating odors that smell sweet, fishy with a chemical-like or ammonia-like
aroma that won’t dissipate, even with extended ventilation, have been complaints in a number of these cases. The SPF industry attributes lingering odors to the amine catalysts [1].
In some cases, homeowners or residents who reported having no respiratory problems or
symptoms prior to the foam installation, reported they began experiencing burning throats,
irritated eyes, difficulty breathing and other various symptoms immediately after, or within a day or two after, foam installation when they re-entered their house. In some cases, the homeowners or residents indicated they experienced a relief of the symptoms after they spent time away from their homes. Some homeowners reported having to move out of their homes because of the
concern for their health. In a growing number of cases, homeowners report having the spray
foam insulation completely removed from their homes in an attempt to remediate the situation
and to be able to return to their house [18], [27].
The cause of these incidents is unclear. Although more evidence needs to be gathered to
determine patterns and commonalities between the cases, the most likely cause of problems with
the SPF insulation is an incorrect installation since industry representatives have data to show
that when SPF insulation is properly formed and it has fully cured, there is no residual offgassing
of any of the chemical components. In some instances of improper installation, the SPF
manufacturer has, or is initiating, the removal of installed SPF insulation as a way to remediate
the odors and health concerns of homeowners.
As discussed above, numerous variables can affect whether high pressure SPF insulation
installation is done correctly, and most of these variables are controlled by the SPF installation
contractors on-site at the time of application.
It is important to note installing SPF insulation in a house or building is an on-site
chemical manufacturing process in a location that will be occupied shortly thereafter (by workers or owners), and continuously for years on end. If anything goes wrong during the process the effects are experienced on-site, rather than at a factory as with other insulations. There has been discussion on a green building website that with an incorrect SPF installation, the chemical ingredients of the foam can even be absorbed by the building materials with which it comes into contact [18].
The most likely variable that is leading to these incidents is human error. Human errors
in knowledge and performance, which can lead to incorrect mixtures of the chemical
components, incorrect temperatures and pressures during the spraying, poorly maintained spray equipment, equipment, or spraying when ambient temperatures or building substrates are too cold, or humidity is too high for a proper chemical reaction and proper curing. One error that has been reported is applying too thick of a layer of SPF in one pass. The proper procedure for applying closed cell foam insulation is to spray 2 inch (maximum thickness) layers, allow time to cure, and then applying additional 2 inch (maximum thickness) layers if more insulation has been specified. In one reported case an entire 6-8 inch layer of closed cell foam was applied at once by the applicator who did not follow the recommended application procedures provided by the SPF manufacturer.
In addition, there have been reports of house fires spontaneously starting after the
installation of SPF due to excessive heat build-up from the exothermic reaction of the foam.

To view this article in its entirety see PHIUS_Spray_Polyurethane_Passive_Houses-2


Health Effects of Amines – SPF off Gasses lots of Amines

I find this article interesting and concerning ( posted in eScience).  Amines are high in SPF chamber tests and IAQ samples from homes with spray foam insulation…

“CO2 capture: Health effects of amines and their derivatives

Published: Monday, April 4, 2011 – 10:07 in Health & Medicine

CO2 capture by means of amines is considered to be the most appropriate method to quickly begin with CO2 removal. During this capture process, some of the amines escaping the recycling process will be emitted into the air and will also form other compounds such as nitrosamines and nitramines. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) was commissioned by the Climate and Pollution Agency (Klif) to assess whether these new emissions are harmful to health – particularly in terms of the cancer risk to the general population. The results of the risk assessments were submitted recently. These amines by themselves are not very harmful at typical concentrations that might occur, for example, near power plants. However, the amines could take part in complex chemical reactions and form new compounds such as nitrosamines and nitramines, which can affect health and the environment.

There is relatively little knowledge about the various health effects for many of these compounds, but it is known that several of them can be highly carcinogenic. The cancer risk ultimately depends on how much is formed, how much is released, how much is decomposed in the atmosphere by light and how strong the cancer-causing substances are.

The NIPH has assessed the cancer-causing ability of compounds that can be formed in connection with CO2 capture. Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) was found to be one of those that may be the most carcinogenic. Therefore, this compound is used to calculate the risk from the total amount of various nitrosamines in the air.

Uncertainty about nitramines

There is a lack of knowledge about nitramines but the compounds in this group are generally believed to be less carcinogenic than nitrosamines. However, studies show that the nitramine we know most about, (N-nitrodimethylamine) is a highly carcinogenic substance, although it is not as potent as NDMA.

The NIPH recommends that the risk estimate for NDMA is also used for nitramines. This must be regarded as a risk estimate that will provide good protection of the population. If nitramines are detected in significant quantities in emissions, there will be a need for more knowledge for the NIPH to be able to perform a full risk evaluation.


When released from the CO2 capture plant, the NIPH recommends that the risk estimate for NDMA should be used for the total concentration of both nitrosamines and nitramines in air and water. We recommend maximum levels that provide minimal or negligible risk of cancer from exposure to these substances. The NIPH therefore concludes that the total amount of nitrosamines and nitramines should not exceed 0.3 ng/m3 (nanogram/m3) air.

Source: Norwegian Institute of Public Health


MDI – The Isocyanate in SPF and its side effects on our respiratory and skin

MDI is the isocyanate used in spray foam insulation and it is known to be an asthma INDUCER and SENSITIZER, but yet it is allowed to be sold as non toxic and ‘green’.

If you have spray foam insulation and experience respiratory, nasal, eye, throat, skin rash, headaches and/or plastic or chemical odor while heat or AC are on please contact me at for more information.

If you moved into a new home or had SPF installed, but have no odor, you may still be subject to SPF off-gassing and may need an air quality test.

Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), a reactive chemical used for commercial polyurethane production, is a well-recognized cause of occupational asthma. The major focus of disease prevention efforts to date has been respiratory tract exposure; however, skin exposure may also be an important route for inducing immune sensitization, which may promote subsequent airway inflammatory responses. We developed a murine model to investigate pathogenic mechanisms by which MDI skin exposure might promote subsequent immune responses, including respiratory tract inflammation.

Mice exposed via the skin to varying doses (0.1-10% w/v) of MDI diluted in acetone/olive oil were subsequently evaluated for MDI immune sensitization. Serum levels of MDI-specific IgG and IgE were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA), while respiratory tract inflammation, induced by intranasal delivery of MDI-mouse albumin conjugates, was evaluated based on bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Autologous serum IgG from “skin only” exposed mice was used to detect and guide the purification/identification of skin proteins antigenically modified by MDI exposure in vivo.

Skin exposure to MDI resulted in specific antibody production and promoted subsequent respiratory tract inflammation in animals challenged intranasally with MDI-mouse albumin conjugates. The degree of (secondary) respiratory tract inflammation and eosinophilia depended upon the (primary) skin exposure dose, and was maximal in mice exposed to 1% MDI, but paradoxically limited in mice receiving 10-fold higher doses (e.g. 10% MDI). The major antigenically-modified protein at the local MDI skin exposure site was identified as albumin, and demonstrated biophysical changes consistent with MDI conjugation.

MDI skin exposure can induce MDI-specific immune sensitivity and promote subsequent respiratory tract inflammatory responses and thus, may play an important role in MDI asthma pathogenesis. MDI conjugation and antigenic modification of albumin at local (skin/respiratory tract) exposure sites may represent the common antigenic link connecting skin exposure to subsequent respiratory tract inflammation.

Full Article Here:

Article from:

Immune sensitization to methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) resulting from skin exposure: albumin as a carrier protein connecting skin exposure to subsequent respiratory responses
Adam V Wisnewski1*, Lan Xu2, Eve Robinson2, Jian Liu1, Carrie A Redlich1 and Christina A Herrick2
* Corresponding author:     Adam V Wisnewski
Author Affiliations
1 Department of Internal Medicine; Yale University School of Medicine; 300 Cedar Street; New Haven, CT; 06510, USA
2 Department of Dermatology; Yale University School of Medicine; 300 Cedar Street; New Haven, CT; 06510, USA
For all author emails, please log on.
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology 2011, 6:6 doi:10.1186/1745-6673-6-6

The Architect Was Wrong – Flame Retardants from SPF Do Enter Your Home.

I have spoken to some of the top ‘green’ architects and I am always surprised when they tell me that insulation particles do not enter the living envelop of the home!!

Here is some important info concerning how flame retardants in spray foam insulation ARE IN THE HOME.

If you have SPF, it is important to be aware that your home is not free of the nasty things that the manufacturer marketed to you.

Flame retardants in building insulation: a case for re-evaluating building codes, Building Research & Information.

…Flame retardants whose primary use is in building insulation are found at increasing levels in household dust, human body fluids and in the environment. These substances have been associated with neurological and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, and potential carcinogenicity (Covaci et al.,
2006; Marvin et al., 2011; van der Veen and de Boer,
2012). It is argued that highly energy-efficient buildings
are likely to contain potentially harmful flame-retardant
chemicals in their insulation…

Exposure and toxicology
The two major flame retardants currently used in
plastic insulation materials are known either to be
harmful or to lack adequate health data: hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD or HBCDD) and tris(1-
chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP). The chemicals
are released during the product life cycle and move
into the environment, humans and animals. Such halogenated flame retardants act by releasing active
halogen atoms (called free radicals) which can
quench the chemical reactions occurring in the flame.
HBCD and TCPP are used additively, which means
they are not chemically bonded to foam and have the
potential to migrate out. They can enter the environment as releases during chemical and product manufacturing, as well as leaching from products during
use and disposal. The general public can be exposed
by dermal contact with, inhalation or ingestion of contaminated air, water, soil, food and/or indoor dust
(Figure 4).
Both HBCD and TCPP are found in indoor dust to
which the general public may be exposed. However,
the source of the chemicals in the dust has not been
established, nor what the contribution of migration
from building insulation compared with other
sources may be. Both air and moisture move through
a building fabric, regardless of how tightly they are
constructed. Substances within building cavities have
the potential to migrate out of those cavities via movement driven by air, liquid and/or water vapour that
occurs due to temperature, air and vapour pressure
differentials (Liu and Nazaroff, 2001). Chemicals
may be present in dust from abraded materials or
could volatilize and then settle in indoor dust to
which building occupants could be exposed…


Vytenis Babrauskas , Donald Lucas , David Eisenberg , Veena Singla , Michel Dedeo & Arlene Blum (2012):
Flame retardants in building insulation: a case for re-evaluating building codes, Building Research & Information, 40:6,

Needed: Research on Spray Foam Insulation – Real Life Application and Safety Data

Dear Silent Spring, Mom’s Rising, Green Science Policy and CPSC

Thank you for all your research on flame retardants and couches and car seats.

Couches and car seats need to be as non toxic and safe as possible without a doubt, but what about a much larger part of a home like its insulation.

Technically, spray foam insulation is sandwiched between sheathing and drywall, but don’t be fooled it still can off gas and pollute your homes’ air with plenty o’ chemicals like flame retardants.

In the attic, SPF is often left visible and can be dumped, cracked, and broken – all resulting in more chemicals exposed which means more junk in your air.

Please, Please , Please look into spray foam insulation and its toxic soup of chemical ingredients / flame retardants.

I run the blog and am contacted daily from people unable to live in their homes due to the off gassing of this “inert, green” product.

Where is the data or research that can truly show SPF is safe in residential use.  Where is the data showing the long term safety?

Lots of data is being captured from homes that show it is not safe, perhaps this needs more attention.

I have many pages of chamber and air tests of our home with spf in it, all reports deem the home too contaminated to live safely in.
I am happy to share our results; other homes also show many similarities and trends in the chemical off gassing.

The flame retardant, Tris was found in the samples of our home and other spf homes with Demilec and other brands.

AQS Environmental  Lab ( Green Guard Certification Lab, Founder – Marilyn Black) did our testing and Robert Miller of Argus is our Industrial Hygienist – so credibility of the testing is far from being in question.

More people need to be made aware that this building product carries serious potential side effects.
From what I have learned, most everyone who specs SPF is doing so because the ‘green’ leaders and governing bodies are pushing it.
It is a high R value product, but what good is that if it causes harm?

Please consider more research or regulation of spray foam insulation.

Please consider signing my petition: “EPA: Require full disclosure of toxic chemicals used in spray foam insulation” on

It’s important. Will you sign it too? Here’s the link:


Pharos Project States Hazards of SPF

To see the article at Pharos link here

Are you worried about your spray foam insulation?

If you are concerned that your home spray foam insulation is making you feel sick or has an odor,  is crusty or too soft or irritates your eyes, throat, chest, head or gives you body aches, or are coughing while in your home, it is time to get an inspection.

Not all foam looks bad to be bad.

If you feel sick in your home and you have spray foam insulation, please contact us at foamproblem (at)

We can provide you with referrals in your area that understand SPF.

Bette to know if your home is a bath of SPF off gassing before more damage is done.



Amine Study Points to Real Symptoms from Odor

Here is a study (Staff Review of Five Amine Catalysts in Spray Polyurethane Foam 09/19/2012) that backs the evidence that the amines used in SPF are contributing to the symptoms that drive many people out of their spray foam insulated homes.

If your spray foam company tells you the odors oozing from your foam is a nuisance odor, send them this study or have them speak to an Industrial Hygienist.

The B side of SPF is made up of Amines and here is a little info from the study…

…Exposure to the B-side chemicals can cause irritation of the respiratory tract, causing cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, and runny nose (ACC, 2010). Inhalation of some amine catalyst vapors can temporarily cause vision to become foggy or blurry, and halos may appear around bright objects such as lights (ACC, 2010). Skin contact may cause moderate to severe irritation and burns, from redness and swelling to painful blistering, ulceration, and chemical burns (ACC, 2010). Amine catalysts can also irritate the eyes and may cause the following symptoms at low concentrations: corneal swelling without pain; blurred or “foggy” vision with a blue tint; and a halo phenomenon effect around lights. Higher vapor concentrations or direct contact with the liquid amines may result in severe irritation and tissue injury (ACC, 2011). If amines are ingested, this may result in severe irritation, ulceration, or burns of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and gastrointestinal tract. Other serious symptoms may include pain in the chest or abdomen, nausea, bleeding of the throat and gastrointestinal tract, diarrhea, dizziness, thirst, circulatory collapse, coma, and even death (ACC, 2011).


No End in Sight for Spray Foam Problems

Goodness.  Over the past two weeks I have been contacted by 5 families living in hotels or rentals because they feel sick inside their spray foamed homes.

As an update: Lawsuits are being filed from three (at least) different firms against manufactures such as Demilec, Icynene and Bayer (to name the top few).

Some families are being paid small amounts compared to what they have lost and have to sign all future rights away.

My roster of foam families keeps growing yet foam companies still have the nerve to deny any issues.

Here is the topper…Dave Lall told me during our phone conversation that it is the installers fault; he even used an analogy of installers cutting corners and hoping not to get caught in order to save money with a guy at a bar taking the last drink his friends bought him before driving drunk home and hoping not to get caught.

Classy Dave, nice work for a CEO.

Also, It is somewhat satisfying to hear that my little blog sends your lawyers to court looking to find ways to get my communications with others.  Perhaps you should spend the time and money on helping people forced out of their homes because they used your product instead of in court asking for my emails!





I suppose this is how it works.