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The Toxic Composition of Spray Foam Insulation

Posted November 25, 2015

Insulation serving the Greater Seattle Area is judged in terms of effectiveness as well as safety. Although spray foam insulation can be extremely effective and efficient, it is not necessarily made of the safest ingredients. This type of insulation is comprised of two separate parts, both of which contain toxic elements like amine catalysts and isocyanates. Feel free to read on for more information about the toxic composition of spray foam insulation.


The efficiency that comes with spray foam insulation is significantly offset by the toxicity of its components. The insulation itself does not even exist until its two chemical parts, or sides, are mixed when the material is installed. For something that many people consider a green product, this should already raise a flag. Spray foam insulation installers must wear a wealth of protective gear including masks and suits when mixing the two sides, which serves as another warning that this practice is not so green after all. This gear is used to protect installers from the chemical fumes that are emitted during the mixing process; failing to mix them thoroughly can leave active chemicals in the insulation rather than a dry, inert substance.

Side A Composition

Spray foam insulation is initially made up of two separate liquid components, referred to as side A and side B. Each of these sides contains harmful chemicals, and they are mixed together upon installation of the spray foam insulation. Side A includes isocyanates, which can sensitize a person to asthmatic symptoms through exposure. Increased exposure leads to more serious attacks, which can be dangerous for your health. Those who have become sensitive to isocyanates may be afflicted by them wherever there is spray foam insulation.

Side B Composition

The opposite side of spray foam insulation contains hazardous ingredients as well. Side B contains flame retardants, amine catalysts, and polyol, all of which have the potential to cause problems when humans are exposed. Symptoms associated with these substances range from blurry vision and eye irritation to more serious health effects like convulsions and central nervous system problems.