Is Spray Foam safe ?????

TFCwifeyNovember 30, 2012

Hi, I am in the middle of building a home right in the center of CT. We were planning on using spray foam for insulation. But last night on the local news they had a story saying the spray foam can cause health issues etc.

http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91060&sitesection=WTIC_hom_non_fro&VID=23903508

I also read online that there is a class action lawsuit being formed in Florida for such health issues in families who used spray foam.

http://www.sprayfoamproblems.com/post-detail.php?id=5643

I have a 9 month old daughter that will be living in the house. I will never be able to live with myself if something were to happen to her due to using spray foam in the house from the potential of off gassing.

Do any of you have spray foam in your house and do you have headaches, nausea, or any other side effects that you think could be caused by it?

The EPA is also looking into the spray foam safety.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-news/waiting-epa-action-spray-foam-insulation

I need to make my decision in the next month of what kind of insulation we will be using. The house is already framed and is getting plumbed next week.

If you know of any studies that have been conducted on the safety of it please let me know where I can read them.

Please help we are soooo confused!!!! Thank you!!!

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ionized_gw

I think that the GBA web site sums it up pretty well. Are you looking for a simple answer to a complicated question?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:12PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

As with so many things, the answer is far from clear. Opinions differ. To my knowledge, neither the pro nor the con argument has a convincing and scientifically documented story to tell.

Your decision is irreversible. There are alternatives to spray foam. If you want to be SURE to not have a problem with your family, go with one of the several alternatives and avoid the controversy AND the potential risks.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 9:56PM
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energy_rater_la

lawsuits come from mix of spray foam not being
correct. this causes strong offgasing of the product.
other problems it causes is less adhesion of
the product & excessive shrinkage.

shop for foam companies before hiring one if
you chose foam. the lowest bid or the highest
bid is not an indicator of experience & finished
product.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 3:05PM
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TFCwifey

Thanks for your comments !!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 6:42PM
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hamconsulting

Mike Holmes of Holmes Inspection TV Show makes the spray foam look so good and so easy to install, but that guy can fix anything.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 11:53PM
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brickeyee

"Mike Holmes of Holmes Inspection TV Show makes the spray foam look so good and so easy to install, but that guy can fix anything."

And he gets as many takes as needed for the show.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:24PM
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mike_home

I think Mike Holmes gets a little carried away with his spray foam insulation.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:57PM
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countryboymo

Even a thin 1/2"-3/4" layer of rigid foam board on the outside before the sheeting and siding with a tyvek housewrap or equiv. makes a huge difference. I would even say the housewrap and sheeting/ siding combo is waay better than just the siding. So minimum one layer of housewrap, one layer of plywood and outer layer of hardyboard or siding and I am not talking vinyl siding. I think the latter would be the minimum if you was going for efficiency.

Caulk and lots of it will be your best friend and when applied as the house is being built saves a ton of time compared to doing it after insulation is in and the house is being lived in.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:00AM
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countryboymo

Even a thin 1/2"-3/4" layer of rigid foam board on the outside before the sheeting and siding with a tyvek housewrap or equiv. makes a huge difference. I would even say the housewrap and sheeting/ siding combo is waay better than just the siding. So minimum one layer of housewrap, one layer of plywood and outer layer of hardyboard or siding and I am not talking vinyl siding. I think the latter would be the minimum if you are going for efficiency.

Caulk and lots of it will be your best friend and when applied as the house is being built saves a ton of time compared to doing it after insulation is in and the house is being lived in.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:31AM
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SnidelyWhiplash

My personal preference is that I don't want foam anything in my house. One thing not previously mentioned is that many types of foam are highly flammable and produce dangerous fumes and high temperatures when they burn.

Wood is flammable enough, I wouldn't want to feed a fire any more than is necessary. There are reasonable alternatives to foam that avoid the fire and health risks that can be faced.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:31PM
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SaltiDawg

snidely,

You said, "One thing not previously mentioned is that many types of foam are highly flammable..."

There are foam products that are approved for use in residences that are "highly flammable?" ????

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:46PM
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Circus Peanut

Most residential building codes require that there be a fire-rated barrier between the foam and the living space: drywall or an intumnescent coating.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 1:28PM
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llaatt22

The link has some good points about the small % of jobs that go south and why.
The bad ones seem to be a combo of unsuitable (cold) weather, poor supervision,
don't care workers who spray too fast and too thick with material that isn't hot enough to meet the spec, etc.

A good honest company with well maintained equipment and skilled operators is a must. It will be expensive.
Check multiple references thoroughly before anything else.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spray foam short comings

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 6:08AM
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