NRDC and the National Housing Trust Suggest Avoiding Foam Chemicals
A report released by Energy Efficiency for All, a partnership of Non Governmental Agencies (NGOs) that includes the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and National Housing Trust, cautions home builders to avoid using foam insulation and certain air-sealing materials. The report states these products contain chemicals whose emissions pose a threat to human health.
Product rankings in the report had spray foam at the bottom of the list for building insulation materials. Cellulose insulation had a positive recommendation as did fiberglass.
Spray foam insulation has become very popular with many residential architects and builders over the 10 year or so. Although foam insulation has many positive insulating characteristics, it is clearly the least environmentally friendly of all common insulation products. In addition to the potentially harmful chemicals noted in the report findings, the core raw material is petroleum, it requires high embodied energy to produce and is basically just one more form of petroleum products, like plastic, that do not decompose causing so much ecological damage to the environment.
Cellulose insulation offers equally good insulating characteristics in almost all applications without the heath hazards or negative environmental impacts. In fact, it is one of the best products for retrofitting insulation into the walls of older homes.
Read more in the Report. Consumers, building new homes or retrofitting older ones, who are interested in having healthier, greener building products utilized in the construction, should ask their builder or architect about alternatives to spray foam insulation.