What's this white stuff?

From today’s inspection…
Found these white granules all over the attic. They look and feel like they are Styrofoam beads from an old bean bag chair. They were all over the attic, and looked like someone spread them for insulation.

When those same expanded polystyrene beads are pressed together under heat into a large block and then cut into thinner insulation sheets by a hot wire…it’s called expanded polystyrene foam board insulation. Don’t worry about the source or that it’s not in board form. A local expanded foam board manufacturer chops up scrap pieces and sells an 8-9 cu ft bag for about a buck…real cheap…just dump it in your attic.

You can’t be serious, you are joking correct?

No fire hazard there. Right Mario?

Styrofoam in an attic…You’ve got to be kidding.

I’ll bet you put a lighter to that stuff and you’ll see that you’ve got yourself a toxic issue.

Mark, how old is the house? Sometimes they used Molded expanded polystyrene (MEPS)—more commonly used for foam board insulation—is also available as small beads (polypearl) and used these beads to fill in wall voids cavities that had no prior insulation.


80 + years old. It looked like Styrofoam beads, but they were loose. The polypearl site said that they were coated with glue, but these weren’t. It really did look like someone dumped the contents of a bunch of bean bag chairs up there. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Next think you know, folks will be insulating their attics with packing peanuts.


I saw your packing peanuts last winter in an attic in south Atlanta! When I asked the homeower why they were there she said she got a lot of shipments from the Home Shopping Network and did not want to put them in a landfill.

I took a some outside to showed them how they will burn, melt and add to the air quality of a home when fire is added. A few days later the peanuts were in a landfill.

Some people…:roll:

So where’s all the** data** about the huge hazards of polystyrene in fires?

Why aren’t other plastics banned from homes? Foam cushions, synthetic carpets, foam carpet pads, polyurethane shoe soles, wool, silk, wood, kids’ toys, oil, gas, electricity??? all are involved in fires and deaths!!!

By the way, when it’s installed in walls and attics, it is separated from the living space by 1/2 inch gyproc as required by codes!!!

Why do they allow wires to be run through non fire retardent wood framing materials???

Why don’t we require that our combustion heating appliances be installed in a separate detached shed at some minimum distance from the house and pipe the heat in…save a lot of CO deaths, fires, gas explosions in houses!!!

From my post of 9/7/08:

IMHO, the foam issue is way overstated by the codes!! Seems it’s just a historical artifact from when foam panels first came out. We have foam pillows/cushions, carpet pads, and lots of other plastics in houses today but we don’t have to cover them with 1/2" drywall. Haven’t heard of higher #'s of deaths related to insulation foam in fires!!** It’s the CO and cyanides from a variety of sources**.


From http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/559849:

"In a study done in Sweden at the National Testing Center, they looked at a controlled burning of household items, everything from VCRs to furniture to chairs to cables, anything that you would find in a residential structure. What they found was amazing throughout. These are the isocyanide levels that came through all the building materials. But the biggest that came through is fiberglass insulation. The insulated wool actually threw off the highest levels. When you look at it from the fire service perspective, when you look at the pink and yellow insulation inside walls and you see firemen out in the streets, you know they are fighting fires and they are going through tearing the building apart to find any hot spots in it and you see the insulation consistently being pulled out and looked at.
This has become a significant concern in the fire service, because we used to concentrate on the wool, the cotton materials, and some of the plastics."

BTW, silk throws off cyanide also!!

From the Portland Concrete Association in an article about the fire resistance of ICF homes:
“[FONT=FilosofiaRegular][size=2]Practically any organic material, like wood or plastic, gives off emissions when subjected to intense heat or flame. The Southwest Research Institute reviewed numerous existing studies of fire emissions and concluded that emissions from polystyrene foams are “no more toxic” than those of wood.”[/size][/FONT]


Calm down big fella.

Some people just do not get things for a while.

One lady in town here used to be a florist. When her and the husband quit the business, took all the leftover styrofoam and packed into attic and wall spaces.

You never know.