The Icynene Insulation System®
The Icynene Insulation System®, produced by Icynene Inc., is certified under the Envirodesic Certification Program as a suitable insulation where Maximum Indoor Air Quality is preferred.
Scientific Basis for Certification
The Envirodesic certification file for The Icynene Insulation System® is based primarily on tests conducted by the Saskatchewan Research Council, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, described in SRC Report No. I-4801-9-C-94, May 1994. These tests identified volatile organic compounds emitted by the insulation, using gas chromatograph/mass selective detector analysis under Procedure B of the CGSB Standard CAN/CGSB-51.23.92. Specimens were taken from a test panel after a 24-hour period, and emission measurements were made after 30 minutes in a 0.33 litre headspace chamber and for 1 hr. and 2 hr. durations at periodic intervals (1 hr., 12 hrs., 1 day, 2 days, 4 days, 7 days, 14 days, and 30 days) in a 51.2 litre dynamic test chamber.
The tests identified specific offgassing products in the headspace test and tracked the reductions in concentrations of these and various additional offgassing products in the dynamic chamber tests over time. The results simulate the indoor air concentrations of volatile organic compounds that may occur in a typical 500m3 house with a ventilation rate of 0.3 ac/h, given full exposure of the insulation to the indoor air. A human health risk assessment of the early emission products and emission levels concludes that the emission products detected should not pose a significant health risk to occupants (Dr. L. A. Bharadwaj, Toxicologist, University of Saskatchewan, January 10, 2003).
In the dynamic chamber tests, several series of offgassing products were observed, all of which declined in concentration to 0.05 mg/m3 or less within 14 days, and to less than the detection limit of 0.003 mg/m3 within 30 days. Additional dynamic chamber testing performed by Bodycote Materials Testing Canada Inc. (Report 01-06-M0267, June 6, 2002) indicated that volatile emissions declined to 0.034 mg/m3 at 10 days, were below a detection limit of 0.002 mg/m3 by 15 days, and continued to be undetectable to 90 days. All these long term levels (10 days and beyond) are well within the Molhave limit of 0.16 mg/m3 of total volatile organics being used presently as the upper limit of the benign range for the general population by the Envirodesic Certification Program.
Additional Subjective Information Regarding Environmental Hypersensitivity
Feedback from subjective testing of partially and fully offgassed insulation samples by select researchers and other individuals knowledgable about the effects of extremely low chemical emissions on environmentally hypersensitive individuals indicates that The Icynene Insulation System® is suitable for use in installations designed for environmentally hypersensitive individuals.
Conclusions Regarding Emission Levels
The University of Saskatchewan health risk assessment concluded that the maximum levels of the early emission products (zero to 4 days) should not pose a significant health risk to the occupants of a building, and recommended a residential occupancy time of one day. The volatile organic compound measurements confirm that emissions from The Icynene Insulation System® at ten days are well within a range considered totally benign for human exposure, and after ten days are less than the detection limit. In addition, The Icynene Insulation System® is considered to be suitable for persons who may be more hypersensitive to chemical exposures than the general population. (In cases of severe chemical sensitivity, medical testing of the individual's sensitivity against aged insulation samples is considered advisable to confirm the suitability of The Icynene Insulation System® for such an individual and to determine the appropriate air-out time required under such circumstances.)
Suitability for New Construction AND RENOVATION/RETROFIT
The creation of a tight air barrier is extremely important in low-indoor-pollution construction, to ensure control over intake and exhaust air and to eliminate building envelope air leakage that can otherwise lead to condensation and mold growth within the building envelope.
Combining its low offgassing characteristic with its efficient air-tightening properties, The Icynene Insulation System ® is considered highly suitable for new building construction and for renovation/retrofit, particularly where Maximum Indoor Air Quality is preferred, even for buildings to be occupied by individuals with moderate to severe chemical hypersensitivity.
Bruce M. Small, P.Eng., Director
Envirodesic Certification Program