GreenBuilding Advisor and Spray Foam Insulation Lawsuits

Once again, GBA reports on the many complaints and lawsuits against the spray foam industry.

Lawsuits Name Makers of Spray Foam Insulation

Federal court filings in a half dozen states allege that spray polyurethane foam is defective and dangerous to homeowners

POSTED ON APR 26 2013 BY SCOTT GIBSON

Spray foam insulation is the target of civil complaints filed in federal district courts. A lawyer in the case describes the number of complaints from homeowners as an “avalanche.”

Federal lawsuits claiming that spray-polyurethane foam insulation is toxic and can sicken those who live in houses where it has been installed are pending in more than a half-dozen states as lawyers deal with an “avalanche” of complaints, a Florida attorney says.

To date, complaints have been filed in federal district courts in Florida, New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, says Vince Pravato, an attorney at Wolf & Pravato in Fort Lauderdale. According to Pravato, litigation filings are also expected in North Carolina and Arkansas.

Pravato says he has been retained by clients to pursue claims against a number of different manufacturers and installers, including Demilec, Lapolla, Masco, and NCFI Polyurethanes.

The filings mark the start of what is likely to be a protracted legal effort on the part of a number of attorneys representing many homeowners. Attorneys for the homeowners are hoping the cases will be bundled into something called “multidistrict litigation” that would speed pretrial proceedings. A hearing on that request is scheduled for the end of May in Kentucky.

Verdicts in any of the requested jury trials could be a year or more away.

Some clients suffer ‘severe health issues’

Pravato was one of the attorneys working on litigation that targeted defective drywall manufactured in China and installed in thousands of homes in the U.S.

Class action settlements approved in that case could cost the manufacturer more than $1 billion. “I was not eager to jump into another situation like the Chinese drywall case,” Pravato says, “but more and more people began contacting me and I said I would look into it, and it became an avalanche.”

The chief complaints are health problems suffered by occupants of homes that have been insulated with spray foam. Apparently, some homeowners develop chemical sensitivity to foam ingredients.

While a number of manufacturers have been cited, Demilec comes up most frequently, Pravato says. Most often, the affected homeowners were in their homes at the time the foam was sprayed, or returned home immediately afterward. Clients who developed health problems typically didn’t know what was causing them. Plaintiffs include a family doctor from Virginia, Pravato says, who was forced out of his home.

“He had significant neurological problems,” the attorney says. “He had MRI testing because he was losing sensation in his legs. He had breathing problems. He was seeing an allergist. He couldn’t figure out what the problem was, and he was a medical doctor. He said, ‘Vince, if somebody came to me with these problems and said it was spray foam I wouldn’t believe him.’ And he finally figured out what it was. They moved out and he’s doing much better. But his house sits empty.

“When you hear these stories it’s just a tragedy after a tragedy. These people are losing their homes. It’s terrible story after terrible story.

“I think there are a lot of people out there who are having problems and don’t know why they are having problems,” he adds. “This hasn’t become a giant public concern so far. You don’t have a lot of news coverage on it. I don’t think people really have the tools to know what is the cause of a lot of the problems they may be having.”

Full Article HERE

 

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 sprayfoamdangers.com 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 Change.org.

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

Thanks!

Pharos Project States Hazards of SPF

To see the article at Pharos link here

WFTV Channel 9 News Exposes More Toxic Spray Foam Homes.

Todd Ulrich of WFTV aired another news story on toxic spray foam homes last night.

WFTV did not state the brand of SPF used last night, but most brands of SPF have had complaints with Demilec having the most complaints and legal suits filed thus far.

In response to WFTV’s story the American Chemistry Council issued a statement :

…“Spray foam can provide enormous benefits to homeowners, especially in places like Florida where climate control and moisture concerns are significant. Spray foam is a highly effective insulation material and has a unique ability to fill the gaps that can be difficult to seal and allow air to escape. Using spray foam to seal air leaks can help manage moisture and humidity in a building. By controlling moisture, spray foam can limit one of the key variables that can lead to mold and mildew growth.

Wow, that response sounds like it came right out of the sales manual for SPF marketing.

The truth about SPF is …the effectiveness of SPF is good, no one ever disputed that it is not a great insulator. Asbestos was good too.

As for reducing mold and mildew, it does not stop growth of mold – in fact a lot of issues are coming to the surface that homes are filled with mold under the SPF on roof decks due to leaks that go unnoticed.  Also, some homes become too tight from SPF (yes, because it is an effective insulator, but at what cost to your health???) and the HVAC may not have any fresh air intake or proper ventilation thereby adding to moisture problems in the home.

SPF  has flame retardants that become air borne and attach to dust in the home.

“Halogenated fire retardants are becoming widespread in the environment. Halogenated fire retardants (HFRs) can migrate out of furniture foam, electronics, fabric and other consumer products as well as foam insulation so humans are exposed to a “cocktail” of such toxins. Levels of HFRs are increasing in household dust, human blood and breast milk, and wild animals. The chemicals are widely distributed in the outdoor environment with the highest concentrations in the Arctic and marine mammals. Certain classes of brominated fire retardants, the polybrominated diphenyl ethers, have been banned for most applications, but other halogenated chemicals have replaces them.”

From  http://www.greensciencepolicy.org/healthy-buildings

Chlorinated Tris is banned from kids sleepwear in 1979, but it is allowed in our couches and insulation – WTH!

SPF chemicals migrate into all building material during install, especially so if no ventilation of the home during install (did you installer have fans going and windows open?).

SPF contains chemicals that sensitize people/animals and can cause chronic sensitivity to all products containing like chemicals.  Think of living in a bubble because everything from your car AC to entering IKEA make you sick.  SPF is not worth that is it?

SPF produces lethal gases during a fire – the typical response time for fire fighters fighting a foam house is longer because of the protective gear needed.

SPF has so many variables that the ONLY way to get it 100% correct is in a controlled setting like a lab, not on your driveway.

If you SPF seems ok today and not presenting any symptoms or smells, wait for 6 – 7 years then check in again.  More and more homeowners are finding their SPF to start off gassing after 6-7 years.  Why is unknown but perhaps its breaking down due to conditions of being heated/cooled on the underside of the roof deck or wall cavities.

Homeowners that do not know if they have SPF, look in your attic or crawl space. Crawl spaces with SPF are common unfortunately  mold and off gassing also can happen in these homes – but it is hard to pin point because it is in the crawl space.

If you have any concerns about your spray foam insulation, please contact me at foamproblem@gmail.com

Explain what your concern is, any symptoms you experience in the home/space, type of SPF, When installed and what the SPF looks like. can help you test your foam and air.

Your air and foam can be tested for elevated chemicals.

 

Note To Demilec;

Since Demilec will not respond to me personally, I will post this here Removing the spray foam only works to certain extent. Chemicals remain in the house because of the sheathing and other framing material that have absorbed the vapors.
Listen up Demilec:
Dry Ice does not work, it makes the odor worse.
Soda Blasting may create too much residual dust everywhere in the home.
MgO clay sprayed on the sheathing or roof deck may be a good option.

George Swanson is the man to talk to about MgO Clay. George can be reached here

As always, contact me for more info. greenwashed@sprayfoamsucks.com

Absolute Remediation – Help and Research For SPF Homes

Today I was contacted by a reputable company using their own money to determine how to help resolve spray foam issues. Steve Todd of Absolute Remediation is looking for SPF to test. Please see his info below…

Steve Todd, President of south Florida based Absolute Remediation a company offering consulting, testing and remediation of defective and contaminated building materials is now offering testing and free consulting to homeowners dealing with contaminated and defective spray foam insulation. Anyone looking to have specific questions answered concerning their home can email Steve directly at stevetodd65@yahoo.com you can expect a response within 24 hours be sure to put “spray foam” in the subject line to assure a quick response.