In some cases, the product deteriorates with time and humidity. It thus releases fine particles of UFFI, or formaldehyde vapours, which linger in indoor air. An air analysis will ensure that your home meets safety standards.
A recognized carcinogen
Levels typically found in houses are generally too low to cause cancer. However, prolonged exposure to moderate levels can cause irritation of the nose, eyes, and throat. It may also intensify asthma symptoms. Health Canada considers that indoor air caused no issues when levels were below 50 μg/m3 (0.04 ppm). However, prolonged exposure to more than 50 μg/m3 (0.04 ppm) could lead to health problems, particularly in children. At 123 μg/m3 (0.1 ppm), risk of irritation or burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat increases. 6
Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI)
Marketed in the 60s in Europe, UFFI was widely used in the 70s in Quebec, before being banned in 1980. It was mainly used to insulate outer walls between brick layers and interior walls of the house. You can identify signs that UFFI was used by the presence of finishing points in the brick joints that fill injection cavities every 2 to 3 feet.
Why can UFFI represent a danger?
Most formaldehyde released by UFFI happened at the moment of, or shortly after its installation. Because it was banned in 1980, and most major installations decontaminated shortly afterwards, it is now rare to find a house insulated with UFFI that releases high levels of formaldehyde into the air.