Has anyone ever seen this???

I did this one today and was totally amazed at what I found in the attic.These are molded Styrofoam sections. They were probably available to this homeowner and he/she decided to use them in place of proper insulation.

A’m I wrong in assuming that this is wrong?
I would appreciate some feedback.

Thanking you in advance.

That looks like what they did.:frowning:

No, you are right, this is wrong. :smiley:

Don’t forget the venting.


I will not forget the vent. It is from the second floor bathroom.

I did some quick research into this and found a ton of evidence against the use of Polystyrene.


Here’s how they insulate the attics in Arkansas around the chicken farms.

Not really that uncommon. People are resourceful when it’s free and don’t know or disregard the consequences.

I’ll try and find the photo of almost 2’ of packing peanuts for insulation.

Looks like packaging materials, someone is trying to be resourceful.


And I thought [to my inspection]this was unique!!


It is one thing to be resourcefull and another to potentially put your family at risk!!


I have a few (4,5,6) under 14 or so inches of fiberglass and blown cellulose in my attic now. I’m so Scottish and green I couldn’t throw them out and they are good insulation!!! Remember in the winter of 05/06, my paid-for heat for about 2600 finished sq ft was about $280. Haven’t accurately calculated last years yet but it is under $450…and this is a house with 2x4 walls…but with 1" polyisocyanurate foam board instead of wood sheathing, regular windows, an air exchanger (0% heat recovery) operating 24/7 and is looser than an R2000 house.

Don’t see any real problem with using them except they’re not that efficient as is. Rather than throw them out (not green), I would airseal where necessary and then blow about R40 cellulose over them and forget’em. Doesn’t sound very professional but neither did public composting, re-cycl;ing and organic food in 1968.

The concern about styrene is in food trays, foam cups and other iotems of styrene used in food storage and delivery. If styrene is so bad why is it used for Dow SM, Protec, Celfort, Trufoam, Thermalite and may other foam boards???

Not very scientific I’ll admit

I don’t know about Mario’s or your foam, Brian but the egg carton stuff is highly flammable and the off gassing and soot particulate from this small piece was enough to convince me that usage of these materials unless tested and approved should be called out until proven differently.

It is no good, The attic is considered a confined space and unless that stuff has a flame spread rating acceptable (it don’t) and is so rated and marked for this installation it is a violation of code. Also if this place ever does catch on fire the noxious fumes and dripping hot residues falling from the ceiling just might be a problem for the occupants and others trying to save them. Recycle old stuff by turning it in for recycling. Homeowners who get inventive like this are the reason buyer’s hire us.

it is for north of the GREAT 48 :wink:


I totally agree with you!!


My concerns were answered by Brian H.

Polystyrene (Styrofoam) releases styrene and Benzene,a carcinogen. When burned,dioxins and chlorinated furans are formed which are also carcinogenic.

Given this information would you have this in your attic?

Our Ontario Building Code states that Styrofoam should be covered with Drywall or similar wall covering. It addresses this issue.

Please don’t post things which justify improper, illegal construction practices. We never know which of us with less experience may be viewing and think your post has a definitive answer and runs with it, leading to a lawsuit. Unless the products we observe are familiar to the inspector it’s time to step back, think, conduct a little research and maybe learn something before the toungue starts a waggin. Because materials can be drastically altered by a few chemical additives the prescence of a particular compound in their structure is inconsequential and not a determinating factor. The products which are listed for applications have been TESTED and proven satisfactory. If not rated for the application they should not be utilized. Cellulose fiber insulation is a good example of how chemical treatments can turn a highly flammable substance into a safe product. Mario I just edited this to let you know we were both typing at the same time.

Gee I would love more information on this where did you find out it is improper and illegal.
I have for years recommening to people that they gasket and put 6 inches of foam on their attic entrance door .

… Cookie

You have got to be kidding that someone would use this stuff in an attic.
Sorry guys, late in reading this post.

Here is some information for a wake up call.

Styrofoam Cups

Drink in this article about Styrofoam cups & containers, styrene migration, and your health

Styrofoam Food Containers, Styrene Migration, and Your Health
It was big news years ago when McDonalds moved its sandwiches out of their trademark Styrofoam clamshells and into paper wrappers. The environment was proclaimed the winner and we all went back to saying, “Yes, I’ll have fries with that.”
But Styrofoam—or more properly, polystyrene—did not go away. Today it is still going strong in both food and non-food applications. The table below provides examples.
Food Applications of PolystyreneNon-Food Applications of Polystyrene
[li]coffee cups[/li][li]soup bowls and salad boxes[/li][li]foam egg cartons; produce & meat trays[/li][li]disposable utensils[/ul][ul][/li][li]packing “peanuts”[/li][li]foam inserts that cushion new appliances and electronics[/li][li]television and computer cabinets[/li][li]compact disc “jewel boxes” and audiocassette cases[/ul]In a future article, we will debate the advantages and disadvantages of polystyrene’s overall use—i.e. the story of “Styrofoam and the Environment”—but today we will take a look at the implications of using polystyrene in food and beverage applications. Most importantly,[/li]

we will talk about how styrene—the single-molecule form of polystyrene—migrates into your food and beverages from polystyrene food containers.
Just in case you are tempted to think this problem does not apply to you—perhaps because styrene exposure has not caused you to grow a third ear or something—think again. A US EPA study of fat biopsies from human subjects found styrene residues in 100% of the samples tested.

The migration of styrene from a polystyrene cup containing cold or hot beverages has been observed to be as high as 0.025% for a single use. That may seem like a rather low number, until you work it this way: If you drink water, tea, or coffee from polystyrene cups four times a day for three years, you may have consumed about one Styrofoam cup-worth of styrene along with your beverages. Mmm… chemically…
Styrene migration has been shown to be partially dependent on the fat content of the food in the polystyrene container—the higher the fat content, the higher the migration into the food. Entrees, soups, or beverages that are higher in fat (like a bowl of three-cheese chili or a cup of Triple-Cream Frappa-Mocha Java Delight) will suck more of the styrene out of the polystyrene container. Some compounds found in beverages, like alcohol or the acids in “tea with lemon,” can also raise the styrene migration rate. When it comes to more solid food, the meat or cheese you buy from the market on a clear-plastic-wrapped polystyrene tray is readily picking up styrene from the foam container. Studies have also found that styrene tends to migrate more quickly when foods or drinks are hot.

Once styrene gets into your food or drink—and then into you—what does it do? Studies suggest that styrene mimics estrogen in the body and can therefore disrupt normal hormone functions, possibly contributing to thyroid problems, menstrual irregularities, and other hormone-related problems, as well as breast cancer and prostate cancer. The estrogenicity of styrene is thought to be comparable to that of Bisphenol A, another potent estrogen mimic from the world of plastics.
THE OFFICIAL WORD ON STYRENE AND CANCERStyrene is considered a possible human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Long-term exposure to small quantities of styrene is also suspected of causing:
[li]<LI class=compactbigger>low platelet counts or hemoglobin values; <LI class=compactbigger>chromosomal and lymphatic abnormalities;[/li][li]neurotoxic effects due to accumulation of styrene in the tissues of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, resulting in fatigue, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, and other acute or chronic health problems associated with the nervous system.[/ul]Because many of these effects can be more pronounced on developing bodies, extra caution is advisable for women who are pregnant (or considering becoming so) and for prepubescent children.[/li]RECOMMENDATIONS ON STYROFOAM CUPS AND POLYSTYRENE

There have not yet been enough studies to know whether the relatively small amounts of styrene from polystyrene (Styrofoam) cups and food containers are enough to cause health effects. But we know from studies of other chemicals that long-term, constant exposure to small amounts of foreign substances—especially those that mimic hormones—causes problems. So, it makes sense to avoid polystyrene as much as possible.
A CERAMIC MUGGINGAlways using a ceramic mug instead of a Styrofoam cup is highly advisable, and mugs with lead-free components are preferable. If you use a “regular” mug, watch for breaks in the inner ceramic surface that might expose your beverage to the lead. If chips or scratches show up, pitch the mug.
Our recommendations are:

[li]<LI class=compactbigger>Use ceramic plates, bowls, and mugs/cups whenever possible. If you can’t do that, choose paper over polystyrene.[/li]
<LI class=compactbigger>Item 1 applies especially if your food or beverage …[LIST]
[li]<LI class=noshrink>will be hot (or get heated up in the container), <LI class=noshrink>contains alcohol or acidic substances, or[/li][li]has medium or high fat content.[/ul]<LI class=compactbigger>Supermarket items that come sitting on or in a polystyrene food container should be removed and stored in something else until you’re ready to cook or eat the items. Glass, ceramic, or porcelain containers, bowls or plates are preferable for food storage (so you don’t get chemicals from plastic storage containers). If you can choose food products that don’t come in polystyrene containers in the first place, so much the better. (And remember that most restaurant “doggie bags” are really polystyrene food containers.)[/li]
[li]Never, never, NEVER microwave or heat food in polystyrene containers.[/LIST]And now for the flame spread and smoke developed:[/li]
What are the flame spread/smoke developed ratings for US STYROFOAM extruded polystyrene products based on ASTM E84 test?

Question What are the flame spread/smoke developed ratings for US STYROFOAM extruded polystyrene products based on ASTM E84 test?

Answer The flame spread/smoke developed ratings for Dow extruded polystyrene insulation products are:

10/160* Max 3.5” thickness, 1.9 pcf density max: Cavitymate Ultra, Recovermate CR, Dow Protection Board III
15/165* Max 4” thickness and greater than 2.4 pcf density but less than 4 pcf: Highload 40, Highload 60 and Highload 100
5/165* Max 4” and 2.4 pcf density maximum: all other STYROFOAM* products
You can also check UL certificate # D-369 for this information.

  • Flame spread and smoke developed were recorded while the material remained in the original test position. Ignition of molten residue on the furnace floor resulted in flame travel and smoke generation equivalent to a calculated flame spread classification of 105 and a smoke developed classification of over 500.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

O.K. so what you are saying is this stuff is no good, right Marcel? That’s what I thought too!!

And the gasket material that most builders use and the foam that many put on the top of the entrance door is also bad ?
How about manufactured attic entrances .
And how about the spray insulation many are now using to seal gaps and to do complete attics.
How about the new foam bed Mattress’s

I feel the attic is not part of the home we live in
I would expect most people would be long out of the home before these gasses come down or the are already dead from smoke inhalation …
I would love to see a web site with some facts.
… Cookie

The gasket is code required, the foam needs to be code approved. Why am I even bothering? Get a copy of the code manuals and stop pulling my chain. Oh, by the way you may have to read them repeatedly, just putting them in the bookshelf never worked for me.

I am not pulling your Chain and I do not do code inspections but I am concerned about Foam giving of gas .
Yes I understand ( I think it is Cyanide ) and it must be covered in the living part of the residence here in Canada .
How about manufactured attic entrance enclosures .
Many are made of foam board. Many beds and soafas are made with foam.