I first heard about the problem of smelly fiberglass batts from Michael Maines, a builder and GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com blogger who lives in Portland, Maine. Maines sent me an e-mail saying, “The latest problem with fiberglass insulation is that it smells like burnt brownies!”
I’ve collected a half dozen reports of this problem, all centering on EcoTouch brand fiberglass batts manufactured by Owens Corning. Two years ago, the company switched from a formaldehydeChemical found in many building products; most binders used for manufactured wood products are formaldehyde compounds. Reclassified by the United Nations International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2004 as a “known human carcinogen."-based glue (or binderGlue used in manufactured wood products, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and engineered lumber. Some binders are made with formaldehyde. See urea-formaldehyde binder and methyl diisocyanate (MDI) binder.
) to a new glue described as a “bio-based” binder.