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Climate-friendly foam building insulation can be more harmful than good

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Climate-friendly foam building insulation can be more harmful than good

Padding PolyFR is the most sold and used in contract departments (hotels, ships, apartments, hospitals, etc.). It is also approved for Class 1 IM and is completely heat-bonded with flame-retardant polyester. Hypoallergenic and elastic, FrPoly is dust-free, washable at 60 ° C and, due to its properties, is not easily attacked by moths, molds and insects. Credit: materieprimematerassi.it

According to a new commentary from, the use of the polymer flame retardant PolyFR in the insulation of “environmentally friendly” foamed plastic buildings can be harmful to human health and the environment. Environmental science and technology.. The author’s analysis identifies several points during the life cycle of foam insulation that can expose workers, communities, and ecosystems to PolyFR and its potentially toxic degradation products.


The climate crisis is driving energy-efficient demand , PolyFR production is increasing rapidly.is this Delay agent is added to all Insulation for plastic buildings in North America complies with flammable cords and replaces flame-retardant hexabromocyclododecane, which is being phased out worldwide for toxicity and durability. PolyFR is generally considered safe. However, the author casts doubt on that assumption.

The estimated safety of PolyFR depends on the claim that because it is a large molecule called a polymer, it has little chance of being released from foam insulation. However, according to the author’s analysis, in fact, PolyFR in building insulation has great opportunities to be released to the environment during the manufacture, installation and disposal of foam insulation. Once released, PolyFR can break down into harmful chemicals that can end up in humans and ecosystems.

“Since so many PolyFRs are used and little is known about their release into the environment, it is necessary to realistically assess the potential for PolyFRs to harm the human body throughout the life cycle. “Miriam Diamond, a professor at the University of Toronto and the corresponding author of the study, said.

PolyFR is a polymer made from the carcinogens butadiene and styrene. When bromine is added, it becomes a brominated flame retardant. Previously studied flame retardants have proved to be toxic and many have been phased out.

We need to better understand the potential health hazards associated with increased PolyFR production and their ultimate failure and disposal. This is to protect workers, the fenceline community near the landfill, and others exposed to the entire flame. Life cycle.

Importantly, there are already alternative insulations that do not require the use of potentially dangerous flame retardants. Alternatively, you can use essentially flame-retardant mineral fibers such as glass wool or stone wool. Also, the fire safety benefits of adding flame retardants should be established before using such chemicals.

“Energizing buildings is an important part of tackling the climate crisis,” said Arlene Bloom, co-author of the Green Science Policy Institute. “But you have to be careful not to cause new health or environmental problems along the way. A” green building “with potentially dangerous insulation is not a green building. ”


“Environmentally friendly” flame retardants can break down into less safe compounds


For more information:
Laura Minet et al, High Production, Low Information: Need to know more about polymer flame retardants, Environmental science and technology (2021). DOI: 10.1021 / acs.est.0c08126

Provided by Green Science Policy Institute

Quote: Climate-friendly foam building insulation was obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-02-climate-friendly-foam-insulation-good.html on February 23, 2021 (good) May be more harmful than (February 23, 2021)

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair transactions for personal investigation or research purposes. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

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