Spray foam insulation has become popular in the building of new homes or the renovation of older ones. When used correctly, it provides the insulation your home needs in order to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It may also lower your utility costs.
Of course, those things happen only when everything goes as planned. When it doesn't, you could end up with serious issues. For instance, off-gassing -- the release of chemicals or other airborne particulates from a gas -- and dust can occur, which could lead to serious health consequences.
How spray foam insulation produces off-gassing
You may be wondering why anyone uses spray foam insulation if it causes off-gassing. Well, it doesn't always. This type of insulation uses two parts. Under ordinary circumstances, the two parts mix properly and go through a complete chemical reaction. As a result, you end up with the insulation you hoped for, and the gases given off by the insulation dissipate and become inert.
When the process fails, the gases fail to dissipate and do not become inert. This means that the presence of the gas remains and creates a toxic atmosphere. This could happen under the following circumstances:
- Failure to mix the chemicals correctly
- Failure of the reaction to complete
- Failure to prepare the chemicals correctly
In addition, the site itself may not be right for using this type of insulation. Of course, off-gassing does occur during the installation and curing processes. Anyone in the area should take the appropriate precautions not to inhale the gases or any dust given off by the products. You should not occupy the property until the dust settles and the gases become inert, if they ever do.
The gases and dust contain toxic chemicals
Even when the installation goes perfectly, it will give off toxic gases and dust. If it fails to become inert and no one cleans up the dust, then you may not be able to occupy the space until it is clear. However, if a contractor simply tells you to adhere to the basic occupancy instructions, you may not be aware of any problems until later. You will know because the home will have a bad odor, indicating a much larger and dangerous off-gassing issue.
This could lead to serious health issues, which could include respiratory issues, along with other problems. If you recently had spray foam insulation put into your home and you notice a bad odor and begin experiencing odd health problems, you may have an issue. After you leave the home and get to safety, you may want to explore your legal options to hold the liable party or parties accountable.