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Why Use Formaldehyde-Free Insulation


By Grace Henry on March 23rd, 2022

There’s a growing movement to remove formaldehyde from building products. So when talking about formaldehyde-free building products, such as fiberglass insulation, it’s helpful to define what formaldehyde is and discuss some of the reasons why it ended up in so many building products in the first place.

What is Formaldehyde? 

Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring compound produced during the breakdown of other molecules – for example, through combustion that occurs during a fire, cell metabolism, or solar radiation in the atmosphere. In its pure form, it’s a pungent-smelling, colorless gas.

Fortunately, formaldehyde breaks down rapidly and doesn’t persist for very long in human bodies or the environment. The combination of its near omnipresence in all environments and short lifespan led to an early, mistaken belief that it was harmless.

Common Uses

Formaldehyde is unique in that it can be made into all sorts of other compounds that make adhesives stick better and last longer, allow paint to flow more smoothly, keep permanent press clothing looking good, and even increase the shelf life of some foods and personal care products.

However, formaldehyde has a darker side. Its usefulness led to many applications in the built environment. Once those products end up in a home or building, they emit formaldehyde as a gas (off-gas) for a period of time.

Formaldehyde’s Impact on Wellness

While small amounts of formaldehyde are generally considered to be harmless to humans, large volumes of airborne formaldehyde can pose health risks.

When formaldehyde is present in the air at levels higher than 0.1 parts per million (ppm), some people experience adverse health effects, such as watery eyes, coughing, and wheezing. It can also trigger or aggravate asthma symptoms. While some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, others have no reaction to the same level of exposure.

At higher levels, airborne formaldehyde grows even more dangerous. Notably, exposure to relatively high amounts of formaldehyde has been linked to some types of cancer in humans.

Agencies such as the National Toxicology Program, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Cancer Institute, along with many more, have evaluated the cancer-causing potential of formaldehyde and determined that elevated levels of formaldehyde are indeed carcinogenic.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers formaldehyde to be a systemic poison that can cause permanent changes in the nervous system.

Despite formaldehyde’s usefulness in some applications, it can have a cumulative, negative impact on end-users who live or work in newly built structures. And it can exact an even heavier toll on those involved in the manufacturing and installation of building products.

A Healthier Solution
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Since its invention seventy years ago, a formaldehyde-based binder has been used in fiberglass insulation.

We have been producing formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation for residential and commercial applications for more than a decade. InsulPure™ is unique because it’s third-party validated formaldehyde-free.

User-friendly and eco-conscious, InsulPure is UL-validated formaldehyde-free and meets the GREENGUARD Gold standard for VOC emissions. As such, InsulPure protects the health and well-being of both installers and homeowners, providing valuable peace of mind.

Additionally, InsulPure is lightweight and easier to handle than traditional fiberglass insulation, making it more efficient to install. It also produces less dust during the installation process, helping with more efficient installation and handling to achieve achieved a Grade 1 install.

Durable, yet soft to the touch, the product cuts and installs quickly. It also offers better recovery and rigidity than other types of insulation, helping to keep it in place and facilitating faster installs.

InsulPure is engineered for use in residential and commercial structures and can be specified for thermal and acoustic insulation in ceilings, walls, basements, attics, and floors. The product is available in a range of R-values and is mold- and mildew-resistant.

This cost-effective thermal insulation solution provides ease of installation for contractors, energy and acoustic efficiencies for home and building owners, and wellness benefits for all.

We also offer InsulPure Duct Wrap, which reduces unwanted heat loss or gains from HVAC equipment and ductwork, increasing thermal efficiency. When properly installed, it also virtually eliminates condensation on cold duct surfaces.

With InsulPure, we have created a validated formaldehyde-free insulation option that offers multiple benefits to both installers and end-users.