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...Insulation Issues Continued
Flame-retardants are, of course, useful in preventing or minimizing damage to life and property from fire. The flip side is their danger, but designers can mitigate the harm by following some simple guidelines suggested by Healthcare Without Harm. Use materials that are inherently more flame resistant (metal, leather, glass, and wool do not require the addition of artificial flame retardants to be fire resistant), or separate flammable materials from the heat sources in a product, a product can be designed without requiring flame retardant additives. Also, install sprinklers in all building types, including residences.
Also, there is a difference in flame-retardants. My last blog post addressed a designer's concerns over the effects of certain additives, including flame-retardants, of ceiling insulation on a chemically sensitive client. Leslie Gage, Greenguard's Market Sector Manager offers the following additional information about the IAQ impacts of three different types of insulation.
Fiberglass insulation: made up mainly of glass; therefore, it is not as susceptible to fire or mold and does not typically use chemical flame-retardants or microbial treatments that can emit. Some have concern about dermal abrasion, but that is not an IAQ issue, of course.
Foam insulation: chemical compilation that can potentially emit high levels of VOCs; only certified, low-emitting foams should be used if IAQ is a concern.
Cellulose Insulation: Cellulose is by nature food for mold; therefore, fire retardants and microbial treatments are necessary. These have the potential to emit high levels of VOCs, as well, specifying certified low emitting cellulose insulation can help if IAQ is a concern.