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Community and Q&A

Should Tripolymer foam insulation leave a lingering formaldehyde odor?

Rudd Anderson | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

My wife and I recently had our house insulated with Tripolymer Foam Insulation to increase the energy efficiency. I was away at the time the work was done and when I came home (four days later) I felt like I was hit in the face with a very strong “plastic” smell. One sheet rock wall in particular had a very strong odor. I was home for a couple days and had to be away again for two weeks. When I got home a few days ago, I noticed the odor again, but fainter. The same sheet rock wall still smells, though – again – fainter. And I’m noticing the main odor coming from outlets and switch plates. This time I was able to pinpoint what I thought was that “plastic” smell as the formaldehyde odor I would smell as I walked past the Bio room in high school when they were doing dissections. So, my question is, should I be smelling anything like formaldehyde after this foam insulation had been installed in our home? If so, can I expect it to go away and/or is it harmful to us and our kids? Any straight forward answers/guidance are greatly appreciated.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    My file of odor complaints from homeowners living in homes insulated with spray foam is growing every day.

    Tripolymer foam insulation contains formaldehyde.

  2. Bill Wilson | | #2

    Firstly the US government just classified formaldehyde as a carcinogen.Tripolymer is produced by a company CP chemical out of White Plains New York owned by Walter Hasselman. You can google his name and see he owns the patent for the foam that was pumped into your walls. The foam contains phenol urea formaldehyde. All this means is the formaldehyde is released at a lesser rate than urea formaldehyde. Their are many states like Connecticut, Massachusettes that ban companies from pumping such material into houses. Connecticut is concerned when the formaldehyde is at more than .1 ppm. You should get your air tested and check with the attorney general of your state to make sure the tripolymer foam has been approved for sale in your state.

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