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© Cheryl Ciecko, 2017

Cheryl Ciecko, AIA, ALA, LEED AP is a licensed architect who improves the health of people by helping them avoid toxin exposure in their buildings.  Cheryl also shares information on a variety of other potential toxin impacts affecting health, including food, products, water quality, and air quality.  Individual consulting is available upon request.


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Spray Foam...Is it safe?

December 13, 2016


Spray foam safety comes down to installation. Proper installation should result in good product that does not off-gas, poor installations can have very toxic outcomes.  


Closed cell foam has some excellent characteristics and can provide important air sealing and insulation properties.  I have used spray foam in my house for certain areas where it provides lots of bang for the buck.   Educated oversight seems to be required though, since I have also read about some off-gassing horror stories, although thankfully, I have not experienced any myself.


Instructions for proper installation of spray foam - CLICK HERE.





Spray Foam FAQ


Causes of spray foam problems:

  1. Chemicals or product is poor quality

  2. Uneducated application,

  3. Poor design or planning incomplete

  4. Incomplete or inadequate processing of chemicals

  5. Poor Installation procedures (before, during, and after)


Avoiding Problems

  1. Look for quality manufacturers

  2. Implement best practices for applications and designs

  3. Fault-protection quality assurance for processing equipment

  4. Use only qualified installers /contractors

  5. Require a proven product

  6. Verify the compatibility between products and substrates

  7. Assure that designs and plans consider building science principles for the application

  8. Understand all applicable standards and ensure they are incorporated

    1. No ASTM standards to follow

    2. Qualified architects/engineers must require and specify project standards

    3. Understand Manufacturer’s recommendations and ensure compliance by all involved


General Contractor and Owner Responsibilities

  1. Select a qualified installer.

  2. Select the right product for the application.

  3. Prepare, and protect the substrate before work begins – Ensure proper site protection

  4. Maintain proper conditions during installation

  5. Maintain proper conditions during cure period

  6. Protect the work after the installation and during curing


Installer Responsibilities

  1. Prepare the site properly and provide engineering controls before beginning the installation.

  2. Comply with manufacturer’s instructions.  Clarify and confirm requirements and tolerances.

  3. Process the materials in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions – verify & document

  4. Install the materials in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions

  5. Understand and comply with post-installation project requirements and protocols



More information on spray foam...

(click on title below to access article)


How Can Something So Toxic Be So 'Green'?


'Green' Spray Foam Can Be Filling Your Home with Toxic Chemicals?


Fine Homebuilding Magazine - "Makers of Spray Foam Named in Law Suits"


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Info





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