• December 21, 2014
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Queens Chronicle

Promoting toxins

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Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

It is often difficult to tell if the “Special Section” of your journal is editorial or advertisement, but when recommendations made are dangerous to your health, someone should be held accountable. “Valuable ‘green home’ improvement tips” (Feb. 20, Winter Home Section) contains lengthy praise for spray-foam insulation products without any warning of the negative health effects caused by the toxins inherent to the material.

They are all made from petroleum derivatives containing high levels of toxins including formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds. They are most toxic during installation, forcing workers to wear hazmat suits, but continue to off-gas indefinitely (see EPA study) well after occupants have moved in. Some cases are so bad that owners had to abandon their homes.

Since alternatives exist, such as an air barrier membrane combined with conventional insulation products, the use of spray foam has been selectively prohibited (totally banned in the European Union and in many U.S. green building programs).

This is equivalent to endorsing the use of tobacco products. Your readers deserve to be fairly warned.

Tom Paino
Long Island City

Welcome to the discussion.