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UFFI foam insulation retrofit (C) D FriedmanUFFI - Urea Formaldehyde Building Insulation Lawsuit
UFFI class action cease & desist: RetroFoam Canada

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UFFI class action lawsuit:

This article reports on class action litigation involving RetroFoam Canada, a company based on Breslau Ontario, and a cease and desist order to the company's dealer-installers prohibiting the insulation companies from installing RetroFoam.

This article series on UFFI insulation illustrates and describes UFFI - urea formaldehyde foam building insulation and describes where it is found, when it was used in buildings, how to look for it, how to distinguish this from other building foam insulation products, and its health effects. We include identification photographs and a description of a very simple field test that can immediately distinguish between 1970's vintage sprayed or pumped UFFI insulation and more contemporary icynene or polyurethane spray foam insulation jobs.



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UFFI Urea Formaldehyde Insulation Class Action Lawsuit in Canada 2009

UFFI, Cellulose, and Fiberglass Insulation Retrofit © Daniel Friedman

Watch out: The Spring 2009 issue of The Canadian Home Inspector, published by the CAHI, the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors, reports on a lawsuit involving contemporary installation of UFFI urea formaldehyde foam insulation in a Canadian home during 2008 despite the fact, as CAHI reports, that the Canadian government has banned the use of UFFI in homes since 1980. The Canadian Home Inspector indicated that Rob and Michelle Cecile are plaintiffs in a $500-million class-action lawsuit against RetroFoam, a foam retrofit insulation product that Health Canada says contains "... a toxic substance ...".

The Cecile family indicated that the AmeriSpec home inspector, licensed through the Canadian federal EcoEnergy program, had a financial interest in the local RetroFoam franchise. Our understanding is that the inspector was hired as Federally licensed energy auditor, not as a home inspector. He was not doing a home inspection. There are many inspectors and contractors who recommend products in which they have a financial interest in the energy audit business.

We are informed that one energy audit company pays its auditors nothing for the audit work. The auditor only gets a percentage for the stuff that they get the homeowner to buy.

The Canadian Association of Home Inspectors includes a code of ethics that may have precluded a home inspector from making such a recommendation.

According to CAHI, the Canadian federal government has issued a cease and desist order to RetroFoam Canada, a company based on Breslau Ontario, and has issued a cease and desist order to the company's dealer-installers as well, prohibiting the insulation companies from installing RetroFoam.

Retrofoam, according to Health Canada, contains urea formaldehyde - UFFI. "The substance causes respiratory problems and cancer" the article continues. "A posting on retroFoam's website does not deny the presence of UFFI, but says its product is safe." As it was reported, U.S. manufacturer did not disclose to the Canadian company importing the product that there was any UFFI in the product.

Robert and Michelle Cecile also assert that the installation of UFFI in their home using the Retrofoam product that contains urea formaldehyde foam insulation has stigmatized their property and thus reduces its property value.

See ENVIRO-SCARE Defined, Effects for more information about the common effects of environmental hazards and scares on property values and property resale time.

Beginning at UREA FORMALDEHYDE FOAM INSULATION, UFFI we provide history and information about the health concerns associated with this product. A rough summary: early research suggesting a cancer link with UFFI was later found not to be substantiated; a possible formaldehyde sensitivity remains for people suffering from MCS.

Where UFFI contained measurable formaldehyde outgassing, that process was found to diminish to below the limits of detection as the foam cured. Current sources of formaldehyde in buildings where old UFFI is present can be expected to be traced to other materials than the UFFI, such as laminated or pressed-wood products.

However, regardless of any ongoing argument about the level of health risk with a UFFI installation, as reported by CAHI, a home inspector, having a financial interest in the insulation company, recommended home insulation retrofit installation of a material banned in Canada.

Readers concerned about exposure to formaldehyde gas indoors should
see FORMALDEHYDE HAZARDS - home, where we describe the sources of this contaminant, exposure levels,
and steps to reduce formaldehyde levels indoors, and
see FORMALDEHYDE GAS HAZARD REDUCTION

Readers should also see a similar looking but modern foam insulating product
at How to Identify Icynene Foam Insulation

If you are having trouble determining what type of foam insulation product has been installed in a building,
see How to Make a Sure Distinction Among UFFI, Icynene, and Latex Foam Insulations for more detail on the identification of these products in the field.

Health Canada Statement on UFFI

UFFI, which is foamed in place and used to insulate buildings, has been banned in Canada under the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) since December 1980. UFFI was banned due to the high levels of formaldehyde that were given off during the installation process, as well as the continued off-gassing of formaldehyde from poorly installed insulation. The amount of formaldehyde released by UFFI was highest when first installed and decreased over time. As a result, UFFI installed before 1980 would have little effect on indoor formaldehyde levels today. If UFFI gets wet, however, it could begin to break down and may release more formaldehyde. Wet or deteriorating UFFI should be removed by a specialist and the source of the moisture problem should be repaired. Some provinces require homeowners to declare if they have UFFI installed, and this issue is generally raised during the re-sale of older homes.

For more information on UFFI please see Health Canada's It's Your Health factsheet on Formaldehyde or the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) - Health Canada, "Formaldehyde in Indoor Air", Health Canada . Sante Canada, retrieved 29 March 2015, original source: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/air/formaldehyde/fact-info-eng.php

Article Series Contents:

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Continue reading at UREA FORMALDEHYDE FOAM INSULATION, UFFI - home, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see URETHANE FOAM Deterioration, Outgassing

Or see FORMALDEHYDE GAS HAZARD REDUCTION for other measures to reduce indoor formaldehyde levels

Or see INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT - home - or see INSULATION IDENTIFICATION GUIDE - home

Or see INSULATION LOCATION - WHERE TO PUT IT - home

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