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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.