SPF Insulation Foam Injuries Can Devastate Workers and Homeowners
Over the past several years, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) has become a popular “green” solution for insulating homes throughout the country. It’s very cost effective and energy efficient, and many who have it installed in their homes (or commercial buildings) take advantage of generous federal energy tax credits.
But all is not well in the industry. Unfortunately, many homeowners complain that SPF insulation isn’t improving air quality in their homes; in fact, it’s doing just the opposite. Toxic exposure to the fumes and the effects of the chemicals are causing serious health problems. Sometimes there are remaining residual fumes – called ‘off-gas’ – if the product has not cured completely or correctly because of improper installation. If you or members of your family have experienced breathing problems or other health concerns due to spray foam insulation, you may be owed compensation for your injuries to pay for medical care, the cost of removing the substance from your home, pain and suffering and lost income if you have become disabled.
What makes SPF Foam so Dangerous?
Applying SPF insulation involves a spray gun where two sets of chemicals are mixed as the foam is applied. As dangerous as SPF is to homeowners, the installers are at even greater risk for respiratory illnesses and some cancers because of their exposure isocyanates and polyol, additives, pigments, flame retardants and possibly some carcinogenic agents.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Occupation and Safety Administration (OSHA), along with the privately-funded National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), agree that there is no safe level of exposure of isocyanides — they’re that toxic. Several dangerous cancers have been associated with many SPF insulation products. Workers are also exposed to dangerous SPF elements when cutting, sweeping, or cleaning up the substance.
Homeowners are also at risk due to exposure to the fumes and the effects of the chemicals, as well as remaining ‘off-gas’ if the product has not cured completely or correctly. If you have experienced health issues due to spray foam insulation – whether you are a homeowner or an applicator – you are likely owed compensation for your injuries.
Legal Remedies for those Injured by Exposure to Toxic SPF Foam Insulation
Normally, when one is injured by a chemical product or byproduct, they file a defective product lawsuit to ask for damages that may include:
- Payment of medical bills
- Lost income due to illness caused by the toxic product
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Other costs associated with the injury
- Possible punitive damages.
One challenge in toxic torts is the complications that can arise when many victims file civil claims and lawsuits against the same defendant. There may be allegations of hundreds or thousands of injuries, in many states. Two “special circumstance” legal actions could govern your civil lawsuit. They are:
- Mass tort: when a special administrative judge combines all identical claims into one giant lawsuit
- Class action lawsuit: when an attorney (or group of lawyers) combines many identical cases into a single filing.
Both are very complicated and you should speak with an attorney about the benefits and shortcomings of joining one or the other, if either applies to your case.
Another wrinkle is that a lawsuit can be filed even if there is no negligence. This is because virtually all toxic chemicals are accepted as being inherently hazardous. The fact that the chemicals are on the EPA’s list of hazardous substances is proof enough to justify a “strict liability” claim if they are identified as the cause of a plaintiff’s injury. Nevertheless, if negligence is also present, the case can be much stronger.
If you or a family member suffers from exposure to SPF foam insulation, look to the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler to focus on your recovery and full rightful compensation for damages associated with your exposure to this toxic substance. He has a wealth of toxic tort experience, a successful track record, and a reputation for being an aggressive, seasoned victims’ advocate in Baltimore and throughout Maryland. For a free, confidential evaluation of your dangerous substance case, call us at 1-410-625-4878, or use our online contact form.