We’ve just received our fifth phone call is as many weeks about inspecting for UFFI, and frankly, we are probably as fed up with it as the Realtors who are asking, and the clients who looking at buying properties that had UFFI installed.
For those who do not know what we are talking about UFFI is the acronym for Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation. Google it on the internet and you’ll see all manner of horrible nasty things that can happen to you if you come into contact with it. But are these scary stories based upon scientific fact?
Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI) was widely used in the 1970’s for insulating and retrofitting industrial, commercial and older residential buildings. UFFI is a low density foam that has the appearance and consistency of shaving cream, and becomes stiff and self supporting when it dries or cures (hardens).
The insulation is typically made on-site where the urea formaldehyde-based resin is mixed with a catalyst and water and foamed in place in walls or used for block fill. The foam can be forced through small openings and delivered to the entire area of any cavity before it cures.
The use of a urea formaldehyde-based resin in the manufacture of UFFI can lead to the release of formaldehyde gas during the curing process and afterwards. Formaldehyde emissions decrease over time.
So the good news is, we will if pushed, perform Formaldehyde air tests for clients. We have no problem earning a living, but we will advise you, in advance, that Formaldehyde air testing will not tell you that the Formaldehyde is coming from UFFI insulation.
We now have electronic measuring devices that test for Formaldehyde, VOC’s and particulate matter, not even these machines will allow us to tell you if, or how much UFFI you have installed. We can, from air testing, tell you how much Formaldehyde in parts per million there is in your home, but remember: other building materials can also be significant sources of formaldehyde off-gassing.
These include pressed wood building products and furniture made with them, including hardwood flooring, plywood sheeting, wall panelling, particle board, fibre-board ceiling tiles and MDF furniture; carpet backing; poorly vented fuel-burning appliances; and tobacco smoke.
If you would like us to come and test your home or work location for Formaldehyde because you want to know the Formaldehyde levels, we are more than willing to do so.
But if you doing it because you’ve been asked by an insurer and mortgage lender for this information, can we suggest you print this page and give it to them with a single word question…….WHY?
In 1995, a test case against UFFI manufacturers reached the Quebec Court of Appeal after a marathon eight-year trial. In a massive 216,000-word judgment, the court ruled there was no basis for fear of health risks and no justification for removing UFFI.
Now if you are concerned about other things to do with UFFI, read another post of ours from a few years back, here. Alternatively, give us a call.