Unknown to many homeowners, attic insulation systems can be a serious cause for seemingly unrelated health problems. Poor quality installations, undermaintained systems, and age are the three factors that can turn your attic insulation into a serious health hazard.
Depending on the instance, all three factors could be contributing simultaneously, but just one is bad enough to affect health negatively. Next, we will take a closer look at how attic insulations make us sick so that the situations can be addressed accordingly.
Persistent Off-Gassing and Respiratory Irritations
Post-installation, off-gassing is to be expected for the next few days. However, it should not persist for more than a week or so. If the chemical smell persists much longer than it should, there is something wrong with either the materials used for the job or in the way they installed the insulation system. Persistent chemical release, aka off-gassing can lead to symptoms such as:
- Irritated, itchy eyes
- Runny nose, frequent sneezing
- Throat irritation, mild coughing
- Unprecedented breathing problems, as well as aggravated asthmatic symptoms
Biological and Chemical Hazards in the Air Circulation System
Provided that the installation quality was good, you should not have to worry about formaldehyde and other carcinogenic fire retardants being circulated around the house. If the installation’s quality was not up to the mark, or if maintenance has been due for a long time, chemical pollutants and mold spores could begin to circulate throughout the house.
On noticing odd smells (chemical/musty/rotten), respiratory irritation, frequent cold-like symptoms, etc. get your attic insulation checked by a well-reputed attic insulation company as soon as possible. If it is an old house, much deadlier particles such as asbestos fibers could be circulating in your home.
Fiberglass Exposure and Dermatological Reactions
Fiberglass is a common material found in rooftop insulation systems, but it can cause problems if you touch it. Exposure to fiberglass while cleaning the attic is common, and it will inevitably lead to itchy, painful sensations. In case the fiberglass has formaldehyde on it, dermatitis and mild toxicity are not uncommon either.
If the fibers manage to get into your eyes while cleaning, it may require immediate medical assistance to prevent corneal scratching. Inhaling the fibers in large quantities will also lead to respiratory irritation and severe breathing problems. Consider taking the following precautions while cleaning the attic:
- Wear gloves and try to avoid touching fiberglass.
- Wear a particulate respirator.
- Wear eye protection (work goggles).
- Only use vacuum cleaners fitted with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
- As an inferior alternative, wet mops will do.
- Take a shower right after and wash everything you were wearing separately.
Damaged, outdated, or poorly installed insulation systems also hurt your finances. First and foremost, faulty insulation can do very little to curb heating and cooling costs, which defeats the very purpose of having it. Then there is the medical expense of managing frequent health problems that originate from damaged, or compromised systems. Combine the two and it becomes a serious financial and health issue, requiring immediate, professional attention.
*Photo by Денис Токарь