Urea formaldehyde insulating foam, commonly known as UFFI, has been banned in Canada since 1980 under the Hazardous Products Act. This foam, which was once used to insulate buildings, can in certain cases release formaldehyde which, at high concentrations, is harmful to human health.

Although the amount of formaldehyde released by UFFI is very high when the insulation is installed, it decreases over time.

UFFI installed before 1980 would therefore have little effect on formaldehyde concentrations in indoor air today.

When UFFI comes into contact with water or moisture, it can degrade and release more formaldehyde. The buyer must therefore be informed that if the insulation comes into contact with water, it will need to be removed and replaced.

Health impacts

The health impacts generally take the form of a burning sensation to the eyes, nose and throat. People with asthma may be more sensitive to formaldehyde.

Long-term exposure can cause:

  • breathing problems
  • increased allergic sensitivity

There is essentially no risk of developing cancer based on the average levels of formaldehyde found in Canadian homes.

For more details: Formaldehyde in your home

When wet or deteriorating UFFI is present,  it must be removed by an expert, and the source of the moisture problem must be corrected.

Last updated on: November 29, 2021
Reference number: 208809