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Cellulose, Likely Fraudulent Product Representation

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Mile High Trout

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Cellulose, likely fraudulent product representation. / Recent article link at end.

So, I was apparently conned with a recent bait and switch program. What's unfortunate is that the supplier of the services was likely parroting misrepresentations from the manufacturer.

Paid 2k+ for install, then right away a week later, paid 1.2k to have it removed.

Upon install the insulation installer denied dust could be an issue, claiming it's the 'low dust' labeled product. Then proceeding to insist I get the walls dense packed with this stuff to prevent further air flow. This defies logic to think if a material is toxic to the residents that more should be put in. Especially concerning is the way insulation companies do not recommend more appropriate corrections which they may not be able to provide themselves. Corrections like; better exterior siding to prevent wind and temperature penetration, solid metals for duct work instead of fake fix material like foam board and foam spray, solar mushroom caps for better attic ventilation, air sealing membranes or boxes for point of use interior electric, and the list of better solutions than insulators can provide goes on.

Apparently our whole families sudden onset of pervasive headache and coughing could simply not be related to the insulation material, according to the installer. Also we often run the lights out flash light test because we've had a lot of remediation to our home in an effort to clean up air quality for our young daughter. Pre cellulose we had some particulate from other issues, and were aware of this. After cellulose we had fine dust on top of that, so thick it looked like a smoky jazz club. Only after total removal of cellulose and then all new carpets has the dust subsided and flash light test showing substantial particulate and dust decrease. High powered flash light in the dark is perhaps one of the simplest and most effective air quality tests anyone can do without assistance.

In the period of about two weeks, I went from average informed on insulation, to becoming more of an expert. I put in an ungodly amount of research into boric acid, cellulose, fiberglass, and other alternatives. It is my understanding that claims about cellulose safety may be misrepresented, the safety articles I've read personally seem to be glossed over and tackle occupational hazards more, and do not properly study combined hazards of both boric acid and paper dust combined. Boric acid is not borax, although borax is a precursor to boric acid. This may change chemical composition over time and under varying conditions related to heat and moisture. The cellulose blown in is over 1/5th to 1/4th weight boric acid, likely a necessary inclusion to bring visual and texture consistency to an otherwise inconsistent product. The paper suppliers (per article below) may have sourcing issues and consistency is likely a concern, as well as possible off gassing and other unknown unpredictable contamination which may be present in some bails of paper stock. The boric acid may be so fine that even good vacuums and many air filters may not be able to capture it. The cellulose itself is categorized as nuisance dust. Per below article, honest disclosure on safety hazards may just be getting started.

Think about the realities of the paper suppliers. They're industrial companies in industrial zoned areas. They buy bails by the ton and they certainly are not going to throw this end of the line stock away when it can otherwise be repurposed as cellulose blown in. It's my personal opinion that cellulose is merely a clever rebranding of material to fetch a premium price for what is otherwise worthless end of the line papers stock destined for a landfill, and the same for sale of boric acid at a premium. My new quip is this installer mistook my attic for a landfill. Upon consultation with several other professionals in the field of air quality, disaster remediation, and installation services, I've learned many others refuse to deal with cellulose in the first place. It is reportedly quite difficult to clean up after a variety of disasters and is typically viewed as pretty nasty stuff. Unlike fiberglass which has been studied over and over again and even recently has better composition per 2015 rules prohibiting formaldehyde presence. I did have the green fiber brand in the attic briefly, which is the same product mentioned in the below article.

Really, this is another example of big industry hijacking the green industry. More chemicals is not green. Treating peoples homes as landfills is not green. Hempcrete sounds green, hemp flax fiber boards sounds green, heck even wood paneling subbed for insulation is greener than most insulation can claim. Fire safety chemicals is another line of topic entirely but ties into cellulose because it's likely to earn an elevated CAS warning label before you know it and recent leukemia documentaries regarding firemen's occupational hazards has many reconsidering these biased pro chemical mandates that FSC's must be used in home materials. FSC rules on fabric has finally subsided and you can get a couch not sprayed with toxic chemicals. Hopefully soon these rules on insulation will also change. We tried a little bit of blue jean denim insulation and this stuff is almost as nasty, although less airborne. It's 10% boric acid and is likewise a poor choice for home health and safety of residents. FSC's are different than materials which may offgas then go inert, they continue to shed chemical for many many years if not decades.

Here are a few interesting pieces I'd like you to read if you get a minute.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry...er-liquidators-20_us_58cc0da5e4b07112b6472cf4

&

http://www.g-pmc.com/g-pmc-registra...ose-insulation-contractors-and-manufacturers/
 

Meandering

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
Pennsylvania
Hey MHT,

Good to see you around!

Sorry this happened to you. But deregulation or no regulation is going to be the thing. Did you see bank stocks tank, today when the Prez announced he will look at breaking up the big banks?

Caveat emptor my friend.

Do the research before you think.

.
 

Mile High Trout

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Hey MHT,

Good to see you around!

.
The advertisements are already ruining it for me, as expected.

I'd pay for membership for advanced functions at this point, except for the obvious road block where non members are forced to be subjected to advertisements to review this site. The net is cast in two these days, those that respect the right of end users to use ad block and flash block, and those whom do not respect the rights of end users to ad free environments. This is my house and it's plain rude to tell me I'm not in control of my own environment. I've already exceeded my one a day advertisement limit, so this is it.

But cellulose is a necessary topic which needed posting for posterity and future research, albeit unduly limited by the admins decision to deny bot crawlers access.

In relatively new googlecorporate form, they're deranking anything negative about cellulose. Google as a research tool is also becoming increasingly unreliable so it remains to be seen if these types of forum databases might actually be useful again for the public at large in the future. As of now they're best considered private limited research settings as far as outsiders looking in, aka limited hang outs. I ran an AF search for cellulose and it would seem there is very little recent information on this, hopefully this updated thread will help.

You know the deal though, I did a hell of a lot of research. I was blindsided by the deranking of critical information pertaining to this topic. I was also trying to trust the supposed industry professionals, but Bestway insulation really screwed me over on this one. Now this lady won't even return an email. I rarely give 1 star reviews public, but am thinking about trolling this one.

Don't believe the hype about politics. Your vote is in your wallet, always has been. You could place a bet with certainty though that the corporate giants will do anything and everything to discredit people whom seek to put America back into the hands of American citizens. "We The People, in order to assure a more perfect union...." I've been watching a lot of Ron Paul Liberty Forum material on youtube. As expected, he's accurate and correct again and again and again.
 

Meandering

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
Pennsylvania
It is good information, and you are correct, no one has brought it up on the forum, thus far except you.

Which brings up a very interesting linking issue.

If your breathing is typically impaired by dust, or cellulose, to the point you are recognized as a protected class under the ADA, you may be able to inspect attics with a drone.

Hummm, lots more here to think about other than product labeling.

.
 

Mile High Trout

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
What caught me off guard was the apparent overwhelming volume of pro safety content for cellulose.
Upon further detailed analysis I discovered it's all based around one or two dated safety studies, the studies specifically referenced in the lumber liquidators link article as not quite as credible as expected.
An entire industry built on lies, what's new?

It also occurs to me the fire safety deal, promoted by chemical lobbyists whom disguise themselves as fire safety groups, is the real reason for dangerous insulation products.

I'm putting pressboard through the attic or something, done with chemicals and done with overpriced items. The thermal rating of wood is 'all good', because it has physical mass and therefore impedes both air and temperature. A claim these insulation materials have a hard time standing up against.

And now I know why those old timers would shove newspapers and phone books and layers of old clothes in the attics. They knew from a long time ago what game was being played.

The pictures of the kids hugging denim batt insulation; future leukemia patients, that's 10% chemical.
The pictures of soundly sleeping babies for Green Fiber brand cellulose; product misrepresentation - add N95 dust mask to that sleeping baby.
The promotion of fire rated spray foam; could have been just fine with the regular cheap foam.
Polyurethane foams; close or open cell does not matter; extensive gas off and other lasting chemical penetration risks. New disclosure on that, and it's a mistake to use it in volume.
New formaldehyde free fiberglass; looking good but still has inherent risk of non soluble fiber which may cause cancer and pulmonary issues if it makes it past the upper respiratory tract.
Mineral wool and rock wool; Best insulation values but can have limited effective age life for safety reasons, especially with mineral oil dry out, or disturbance of the material. This may be best choice for truly contained areas, but as many know, there are so few truly contained areas in construction. Not seeing the area is different than a true encapsulation of space. Mineral wool is nasty and tough on lungs, but at least the fiber is soluble in the body. If you disturb it after it's dried for a long period, the dust will literally never settle. It is described as a vitreous fiber.
Blown in fiberglass looking good, but multiple types and reading SDS's is important. Reportedly the long fiber matts down better and is cheaper than batts. I'm focusing on batts more because after install it's less likely to go airborne because it's more of a woven style product than free sitting fibers.
Wrapped fiber batts tough to come by and high price, but may be best solution reasonable cost if you can source them. That would be true wrap not double kraft.
Hempcrete and hemp flax panels looking like wave of the future with a truly negative carbon footprint, if only the chemical lobby was not boning the public with continued lobbing for this dangerous chemical presence in homes. You won't see truly green products available as insulation materials as long as fire safety chemicals are still mandated for homes.
Open cavity concrete blocks look promising and durable, but you can't retrofit them into old homes.
Straw bale, wool, rubber, and an entire additional range of materials continues to be a difficult to navigate area with locational specific concerns as well as sourcing difficulties.

Even the insulation guys whom look into the details don't agree. The only thing I learned with certainty in my journey to know more about insulation materials and safety is that nobody has it figured out yet, there are no absolutes. The specific state of a home matters. The X factor for possible construction defects matters. The electrical setups matters.

Do you have an air exchanger or inbound line into your hvac from exterior or are you just recycling air? What's your wall cavities looking like? How great is your risk for particulate penetration into living environments? Installed those nifty vapor barriers on point of use electric outlets yet? Have nifty low priced vinyl or metal siding which allows air penetration? Questions that don't really need answered but are important to consider.

This new breed of 'energy auditor' is as expected; a total joke and mockery of true home inspection. It's where any newb and pencil pusher can hook up reverse suction fans to the front door and use infared readers to determine penetration of air and temperature. Sounds nice except for the fact you're pulling attic particulates directly into your home area, and possibly methane as well. A truly competent home inspector can do the same thing without potentially dangerous air movement testing.

The way to do insulation right is to accept a much higher cost. First you take all the old stuff out, then put new stuff in. Insist on total plastic barriers for workspace inside your home. Remember that if they use blown in this will displace air, and particulates with that. For that reason I like batts because there is less disturbance and sharing of air in living spaces during install. Avoid the chemicals like boric acid. Get pro hvac guys in there to correct systems before you dare let the insulation guys apply magic foam board and spray everywhere. Consider the merits of more durable material like siding and roof to be important improvement points. Don't go packing your walls with insulation on a whim, and never pack walls until your electrical picture is cleaned up substantially.

The problem with new homes is they need more insulation than older homes. The builders these days answer reduced building materials use with increased insulation materials use. The problem with old homes is they were not designed to have true encapsulated spaces and this renders many blown in choices as poor choices for resident health.

I think my choice of attic insulation may just be wood and old comforters and clothes. Screw this game, I'm not alive for the purpose of filling big chemical companies pockets. I'm never popping into an attic again without an n95 mask, that's for sure. Don't get me started on my crawl space vapor barrier, I've got one of those now too.
 

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Jim Bartley

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
Mile High,
The link below is a good source of info. While we were renovating our house, which included finishing an attic area, I ran across a white paper on conditioning the attic area. The builder planned on just installing batts on the attic floor. After reading the white paper I had them insulate between the roof rafters. So now my duct work is in a conditioned attic that is close to the same temp as the living area. Much better than having duct work pumping 55 degree ac through a 120 degree attic. Since houses are much tighter now, ventilation has become much more of a concern. You may want to look into spray foam insulation and also look into what's called "make up air".

http://www.jlconline.com/how-to/insulation/
 

Riick

Elite Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Delaware
I was just up in my attic, installing a HDTV antenna (Have cut the cord).
I saw half the batt fiberglass insulation between the roof rafters was falling down.

The batts were made with a foil facing, but, the edges which were stapled to rafters
were made of waxy red paper. The paper has deteriorated (? from heat in attic ?)
letting the now unattached batts to fall to floor.

This is merely a heads up. Manufacturers don't test their products for the really long-haul.
I'm guessing the insulation in my c.1960 house went in sometime in the 1970's or early
1980's, and now, 35-40 years later, supporting structure of the batts has failed.
BTW, my solution is to use 18" intervals of poly string, or fishing line, attached
at a right angle to the rafters, to hold the the batts up and in-place.

Do (or have them do) any install with materials that give a truly long-lasting installation.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
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