Post-cure/long term off-gassing with Bayer’s Bayseal closed cell spray foam insulation (“SFI”)
I am considering having Bayer’s Bayseal closed cell spray foam insulation (“SFI”) installed in the attic and basement rim joist at my New Jersey home. I am interested in hearing thoughts on the recent concerns over off-gassing of the SFI that I have been reading about. My questions assume SFI installation gets done correctly (I have read about the improper installation problems causing odors). Anyway, the issue of concern/interest for me is long-term off-gassing AFTER a properly done SFI job. None of the information on off-gassing I have seen draws a bright line between (i) the risks of SFI off-gassing during installation/before the SFI materials cure VERSUS (ii) risks of off-gassing in the post-curing period – the long run, i.e., a few days after the SFI cures and the ensuing months and years when the home is occupied.
It makes perfect sense to me that during spraying of SFI and a few days after the cure, there will be odors and off-gassing. But it seems to me that a few days after the SFI cures, there should be a dramatic drop in off-gassing as the SFI becomes highly stable. If one were to graph off-gassing, it would seem to me there would be an asymptotic decline in off-gassing after a few days post-installation.
A webpage within this very website (i.e., gba.com) seems to confirm my belief as stated above when it says: “Polyurethane is in a lot of stuff, from foam mattresses to bowling balls. When it is fully reacted or "cured," it is stable and its chemistry is not a significant concern. However, some products, however, such as adhesives, coatings, and spray foam, react while being applied by builders or homeowners doing insulation retrofits, and continue to react for some hours afterwards, and may contain "uncured" isocyanates to which people may be exposed.”
Other sources seem to corroborate that post-cure, SFI should be highly stable/inert. With regard to SFI's main ingredient, polyurethane, Wikipedia states that "Fully reacted polyurethane polymer is chemically inert." and cites to "Health Hazards Associated with Polyurethane" from the "Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (1966)". But, as cited, the article is from 1966; there has got to be more current info on off-gassing post-cure. Moreover, SFI is more than just polyurethane (SFI is also has halogenated flame retardants, etc.) so perhaps a clean bill of health on polyurethane does not equal a clean bill of health on SFI.
So, assuming a properly done SFI installation, I would like to hear comments on off-gassing and lingering chemical odors in the SFI POST-CURE PERIOD (weeks, months and years down the road). Of note, the SFI project I am contemplating on my 30 year old house which is presently insulated entirely with fiberglass is:
1. ATTIC - SFI (6”) on the floor of a vented, non-living space attic (vented via (i) vents (openings) on both gables; and (ii) a whole house fan (“HHF”) that vents through the attic and results in evacuation of attic air when the HHF is turned on (intermittent/when we feel like it); and
2. BASEMENT - SFI (2”) on the whole perimeter of the basement’s rim joist. Basement has no passive or automatic ventilation; one would have to open a window if one wanted fresh air.
3. Nothing else in the house to be changed (i.e., all other fiberglass presently in the walls to remain in the walls, etc.).
So is the concern with off-gassing (whether it be any of the ingredients in SFI or additives thereto (flame retardant additives (halogenated flame retardants in the B-side component that have been conclusively linked to birth defects and loss of fertility))), and other chemicals leaching a concern DURING install and the day or two thereafter, or are these concerns LONG-TERM, post-cure? I am already committed to leaving the home for a few days during and after installation so the question is to long term off-gassing. I thank everyone in advance for their insight and comments based on science and experience.
Posted May 14, 2014 8:56 AM ET
Edited May 14, 2014 9:30 AM ET
Other Questions in Green products and materials
Minisplit setup for New Jersey, 750 sq. ft. house over crawl. Bouncing my HVAC contractor's plan off you guys.