Health risks of Polyurethane spray foam insulation

Posted 3 years ago in HOME & GARDEN.

Choosing the right form of insulation for your house is an important business. Not only will these decisions impact your energy bills

Health risks of Polyurethane spray foam insulation

Choosing the right form of insulation for your house is an important business. Not only will these decisions impact your energy bills but may impact a lot of hidden costs as a homeowner. Similarly the wrong choice can have a negative impact upon your living standards and financial situation. 

Spray foams may have been a top choice for both builders and homeowners due to its ability to seal the tiny crack and holes that could allow bugs or moisture to creep into your house. They are mostly preferred for these benefits but at the same time they can prove to be a toxic mistake that can be a serious health risk as well. On the surface the spray polyurethane foam may seem to be a good form of insulation in comparison to its alternatives, however the wrong choice of spray foam can actually create a toxic environment in your home. Saving a little money here and there is definitely not worth the health risks. 

What is Spray Foam insulation?

Spray foam insulation is mainly an insulation that is typically made out of polyurethane and isocyanate. The foam is basically induced in two different sets as a liquid and sprayed to finish off the insulation process. The liquid form is basically applied as a thin layer directly on the surface and then it expands to fill in the gaps and create tight seals. These spray foams may typically come in three different varieties depending upon their density which include: the high density, medium density and low density. Each of which may have a different application and specific case uses. High density applications may be carried out for exteriors or probably roofings while low density application is for interior walls. 

There are mainly two types of spray foam insulations which are the open cell and the closed cell. The differences may lie in both their density and application. The open cell is generally more dense and has more of a sponge-like texture. This also may be a good option for noise reduction and is less expensive in comparison to the closed cell. The closed cell insulation is a better choice for reducing energy cost and keeping out moisture. The closed cell insulation is actually a more eco friendly option for insulation. 

The risks of Spray Foam Insulation

While on the surface, this insulation option may seem quite attractive considering it can not only reduce energy costs forever but also creates an airtight home that can keep the pesky bugs out and avoid moisture damage. However, it may come with certain health risks. Generally speaking, this method is regarded as safe as long as the foam has been provided enough time to settle in and cure. Spray Foam insulation still has its downsides. Especially the chemicals that are used within the spray foam can be completely hazardous if they are not handled properly. The whole process must only be carried out by professionals that have the proper equipment to deal with the damaging VOCs within the isocyanate. Moreover if you are exposed to the chemical before it has properly settled in, it can generally cause asthma attacks or breathing problems paired up with eye and skin irritation. In case the foam was to crack or break due to improper installation then there can also be foul odors. 

Secondly, air tightness tends to have its disadvantages as well. In case of trapped moisture that is left within the home without proper ventilation, there is a risk for further damage. Moreover if you don’t have proper conditioning methods for the indoor air then there could be an issue of low indoor air quality that can cause other health issues like allergies or even stuffiness and anxiety. 


Spray foam is a permanent insulation method that can cause health risks if it is installed improperly. Making sure that you get a professional for this is crucial to having a safe installation procedure. You also need to ensure that you give the foam proper time to settle in and that your home has proper ventilation measures. However if you can not ensure all of these things then it is better to consider other forms of insulation. 


Jay Jangid

Living in Pakistan