Wednesday, September 2nd by Shannon Brelsford
Like many construction materials, insulation has seen many innovations on the original idea of filling walls with random material to slow the spread of temperature within a structure. Unfortunately, not all of these new insulation materials are ideal for your health, and some can cause a host of allergic reactions and irritations, for a variety of reasons.
This is a good question, but unfortunately it’s not one that many people think about when buying a home, or re-insulating a space. The material that you choose to place in the walls, attic and basement not only has a big impact on your home’s comfort and energy bill, but also on how your body reacts to it.
Of course, each person is different, and different materials could induce allergic reactions in various people in the home, while others remain unaffected. This is why it's so important to know your options, and your families individual sensitivities.
Spray foam is widely regarded as the best option for those with sensitivities and allergies, however let's take a look at what each option has for you:
Fiberglass Insulation: Usually pink or yellow colored, this fluffy, cotton candy looking material is actually interwoven with stands of glass.
What can it cause? These bits of glass can be knocked loose when the material is touched, jostled, or brushed against. When this happens, the particles can end up stuck in your skin, or floating into your nose, mouth or eyes, causing irritation and potentially severe reactions.
Foam Board Insulation: Compressed boards of insulating foam that can be used all around the house, and for tight areas such as ducting insulation and attic hatch doors, providing excellent thermal resistance, while also being flame retardant.
What can it cause? Over time, the flame retardant bromines are released into the air that we breathe. These chemicals can have a detrimental impact on internal organs such as the liver, and kidneys, while also irritating respiratory issues.
Blown-In or Loose Fill Insulation: An environmentally friendly choice, blown-in or loose fill insulation commonly composed of shredded, recycled newspaper or denim. It’s become a popular choice over recent years for it’s quick installation and effective insulating properties.
What can it cause? These materials tend to trap dust, dirt, dander, and pest allergens--as well as create dust themselves over time. This dust tends to make it down into the living space through various means, such as ducting and small gaps in the floor of the attic, causing the classic allergy symptoms of sneezing, coughing, itchy, watery eyes and stuffy noses.
Spray Foam Insulation: Spray foam is a non-degrading, flame retardant, highly insulating expansive foam that perfectly seals gaps and cracks while providing excellent r-values.
What can it cause? Because this material hardens once the foam sets, it doesn’t hold onto allergen material from pests or the surrounding environment, making it the best option for those more sensitive to allergens. Often the best option for people with various sensitivities.
If you've been expereincing new or worsening allergies in your home and are unsure where they're coming from, it’s best to speak to your doctor to discuss possible causes. Researching your symptoms is only the first step in figuring out what 's causing the allergic reaction. With expert knowledge from a doctor, you can confidently consult with an insulation expert about the best insulation material for your attic.
When selecting insulation for your attic, it’s always recommended that you reach out to an experienced professional for guidance. Knowing all the options and the information about those options can only make you more comfortable and secure in paying the money to insulate your home.
Here at Dr. Energy Saver, we have a large network of contractors across the continental US and Canada. Our dealers are real, local contractors with the experience and training to do the job right.
If you’re concerned that your insulation could be contributing to allergies and physical irritation in your home, reach out today for your free, no obligation estimate.