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The formaldehyde (CH2O) emission potential of fibrous glass insulation acquired from the three largest manufacturers in the United States has been investigated. Screening measurements of unfaced and kraft-faced R-19, foil-faced R-11, and 25.4-mm (1-in.) unfaced insulation made with a formaldehyde surface emission monitor (FSEM) demonstrate low interproduct and intermanufacturer variation in CH2O emission rates. The FSEM screening data and environmental chamber measurements of unfaced R-19 insulation taken at 23°C and 50% relative humidity both indicate CH2O emission rates of 0.02 ± 0.01 mg/m2 h after one to three months of product conditioning in atmospheres of low CH2O concentration. Threefold to fourfold increases in CH2O emissions were measured in environmental chamber tests taken at 38°C and 68% relative humidity, simulating potential seasonal exposures in attic and wall cavities adjacent to indoor compartments. However, a two-compartment, diffusion model describing the potential impact of attic insulation at 38°C and 68% relative humidity on indoor CH2O concentrations indicates a maximum increment of 0.03 mg/m3 (0.02 ppm).
formaldehyde, fibrous glass insulation, formaldehyde surface emission monitor, environmental chamber, indoor concentrations, thermal insulation
Research scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Graduate student, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN