Most real estate agreements in Ontario contain a section regarding the presence of UFFI. Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation is a type of insulation that was extensively used in buildings up until the 1970’s. The insulation is low-density and was decent in filling small openings and cured well. Canadian manufacturing of this insulation stopped when the government looked into various potential health hazards caused by the material. Although production stopped, there was a fear that stock was still sold and evident in properties after 1970.
Consequently, most homes are under warranty that the seller has not used UFFI or has been aware of the property containing the material.
The health hazards of UFFI have been widely discussed by both industry professionals and by Health Canada. The main issue with the foam insulation is the potential for it to release formaldehyde gas during or after drying. Studies have shown that the exposure of these gas emissions over time can lead to serious illness.
Despite this concern, most inspectors know that the health risk of UFFI itself is not as bad as it’s portrayed since the gas emissions decrease over time. But if installed incorrectly, UFFI can deteriorate when moisture is present and can release amounts of formaldehyde. Also, an additional concern is that mould can occur on top of the foam.
Whether purchasing or selling your home, it is important to be aware of the UFFI clause in property warranties. Be sure to check if yours contains such an agreement to ensure your legal protection as well as the safety of your family.
If you suspect UFFI may be present in your property, call an environmental consultant and testing facility. A simple inspection/test can effectively prove that UFFI is not present and assist with liability concerns.
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