Harmful Vapors in Foam Insulation
In two instances last year, Viridian® sampled vapors off-gassing from recently installed foam insulation in homes in northern NJ. Lab tests showed volatile organic vapors present, some of which exceeded the NJDEP vapor intrusion screening levels for residential indoor air.
In one case, in a newly renovated, unoccupied dwelling, the owners complained of odors that were offensive and seemed to be the result of insulating foam recently installed. In the second case, in which recently installed foam in an older home appeared to be causing serious breathing conditions, the owners were unable to occupy the home because the air was so bad.
Viridian® sent an experienced staffer to screen the indoor air with a PID, and collect samples of the foam from areas where it appeared discolored or incompletely formed. The samples, in sealed bags, were sent to Centek Lab which analyzed the vapors coming off the foam. In both cases, volatiles, including some harmful chlorinated compounds, were present above the NJDEP Indoor Air screening levels.
Information from the lab, which specializes in analyzing vapors off-gassing from foam insulation, indicates this is not an unusual occurrence.
In both the above instances, Viridian® recommended the owners have the homes re-tested after the insulation was removed and the spaces ventilated. Subsequent IA testing by Viridian® showed the contaminant levels were below a level of concern.