The enclosed link provides an interesting article on this topic:

Suit alleges home insulation is toxic.

Shocking but Excellent information. (as usual) Was this company only operating in the Waterloo area? Never heard of it around here.

This company operates in Windsor area - Essex and possibly Kent County. The southwestern tip of Ontario.

Although the main issue is the home owner/consumer feeling vulnerable and damaged by this environmental concern it raises questions about ethics and business practices. Again what I find interesting is the relationship between the home inspection company, the additional service it provides - energy audits, and the alleged connection of financial interest in the company performing the work with the insulation product.

That is why I feel that the COE - Code of Ethics really becomes challenged when there is a potential for such a conflict of interest to exist. This also hopefully serves as a notice that some inspectors/members need to review their situation.

All around … Inspector Loses

More fallout by consumers/homeowners days later on insulation claim…

This comes from the CMHC website:

Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI)

What Is UFFI?

Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) was developed in Europe in the 1950s as an improved means of insulating difficult-to-reach cavities in house walls. It is typically made at a construction site from a mixture of urea-formaldehyde resin, a foaming agent and compressed air. When the mixture is injected into the wall, urea and formaldehyde unite and “cure” into an insulating foam plastic.

During the 1970s, when concerns about energy efficiency led to efforts to improve home insulation in Canada, UFFI became an important insulation product for existing houses. Most installations occurred between 1977 and its ban in Canada in 1980.

Why Was UFFI Banned?

In the insulating process, a slight excess of formaldehyde was often added to ensure complete “curing” with the urea to produce the urea-formaldehyde foam. That excess was given off during the curing, almost entirely within a day or two of injection. Properly installed, UFFI might not have resulted in any problem. Unfortunately, however, UFFI was sometimes improperly installed or used in locations where it should not have been. Enough complaints were received, particularly from people living in small, well-sealed homes, that Canadian authorities became concerned about possible health implications. The further use of UFFI was banned in 1980.

What Is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a pungent, colourless gas commonly used in water solution as a preservative and disinfectant. It is also a basis for major plastics, including durable adhesives. It occurs naturally in the human body and in the outdoor environment. Formaldehyde is used to bond plywood, particleboard, carpets and fabrics, and it contributes to “that new house smell.” Formaldehyde is also a by product of combustion; it is found in tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust and the fumes from furnaces, fireplaces and wood stoves.

While small amounts of formaldehyde are harmless, it is an irritating and toxic gas in significant concentrations. Symptoms of overexposure to formaldehyde include irritation to eyes, nose and throat; persistent cough and respiratory distress; skin irritation; nausea; headache; and dizziness.

Health Canada has determined that 0.1 parts per million (ppm) is a safe level of formaldehyde in the home. Sensitivity to this level may vary based on individual age and health.

Should You Be Concerned About UFFI Today?

Tests show that UFFI is not a source of over-exposure to formaldehyde after the initial curing and release of excess gas. As it was last installed in 1980, it would certainly not be causing excess indoor formaldehyde today. Houses with UFFI show no higher formaldehyde levels than those without it. However, if UFFI comes in contact with water or moisture, it could begin to break down. Wet or deteriorating UFFI should be removed by a specialist and the source of the moisture problem should be repaired.

In new or other well-sealed houses, significant indoor formaldehyde levels may still occur when new carpets or wood composite materials, such as plywood, particleboard and waferboard, are used in home construction, cabinetry and furnishings. These are the most likely sources of high formaldehyde levels in the home today.

If you are asked for a UFFI declaration

Since 1993, a UFFI declaration has not been required for mortgage insurance under the National Housing Act. However, a UFFI declaration may still be requested as part of a real estate listing or an agreement of purchase and sale. Even though UFFI should not be a cause for concern, you may, depending on where you live in Canada, be asked to declare whether or not it is in your home.

Some home inspectors will have the training or experience to identify UFFI. You can make a physical check of the home yourself. Look for a series of small patched holes, 1.2 to 2 cm (1/2 to 3/4 in.) across, at regular intervals on exterior or interior walls. Foam may be obvious where floor joists meet the exterior walls of the basement or around electrical outlets or switch plates. These indicators do not necessarily mean that UFFI is present, but they may alert you to the possibility.

Just driving from Barrie today and almost fell out of my truck. Several of those coreplas signs were nailed to power power poles advertising this company / stuff. Brand new signs. Do they need the work to pay for the lawsuit? hmmmmmm Only in Canada!

Lets not get confused. The auditor (owner of the “Insulation Company”) was a contractor, employed by the “Inspection Company”. I suspect the owner of the “Inspection Company” might have known what his employee was doing but who really knows for sure.

Lets not trash the “Inspection Company” It’s the auditor who has some splainin to do


And whoever imported the stuff.

That’s right - nobody is trashing him - but the newspaper reporter and a few consumers that have been agrieved just happen to connect the dots. Just coincidence right?

The lawyers will have fun with this one.

My comment did note “POTENTIAL” conflict of interest.

The “auditor” obviously, :o I understand he owned the company that installed the insulation, according to the newspaper :roll:

But I guess we shouldn’t believe everything we read in the paper:shock:



Approval has been given by the courts to proceed with a Class-Action Lawsuit with respect to RetroFoam installations… The court case is set to go ahead on May 12th, 2014 and is expected to last for at least six weeks.

More information on this can be found here

Over 700 Ontario Homes have been installed with Retrofoam.

This means that the onus which should fall on the homeowners and Realtors to disclose may end up as being a problem for us as home inspectors.

What a great find thanks for the upgrade … Roy