New, Smart Resins Improve Indoor Air Quality

April 24, 2008

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Advanced cultures of the world benefit in so many ways. Modern, climate-controlled housing, rapid transportation and prepared foods are the way we choose to live. But there is a price. As Americans, we each contribute 50,000 pounds of carbon dioxide to our atmosphere annually. It may come as a surprise that most of that contribution comes from our houses. Heating and cooling consume 50 to 70 percent of our home energy use. How do we improve those numbers and help the environment? Better insulation can be a key ally. Properly installed, insulation reduces energy bills by 30 to 40 percent, lowers greenhouse gas emissions and preserves our resources.

Leading global specialty materials supplier Rohm and Haas (NYSE:ROH) is creating a win-win situation for those of us willing to opt for new insulation. Adding to the intrinsic environmental benefits of installing insulation, one of the company’s newer products makes insulation itself environmentally advanced through a unique technology called Aquaset™. Aquaset thermosetting resins enable insulation manufacturers to produce high-quality, cost-effective building insulation without formaldehyde, an option that wasn’t available prior to the introduction of this new technology.

For many years, formaldehyde-based resins have been a way to bind loose fiberglass fibers into cohesive insulation batts. However, the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, and the U.S. EPA advise limiting exposure to formaldehyde, a probable human carcinogen. Handling insulation with formaldehyde has long presented worker safety issues for both manufacturers and installers.

Once installed, insulation made with formaldehyde can cause indoor air quality deterioration as well, through prolonged emissions of formaldehyde gases, particularly in buildings built “tighter” with less air exchange. The U.S. EPA reports levels of indoor air pollutants at 25 to 100 times greater than levels found in outside air, leading to health problems including allergies, headache, nausea, and the like. Since we spend nearly 90 percent of our time indoors, many of us are affected. The problem is so significant that experts believe improving indoor air would save as much as $56 billion due to better health and increased productivity. With insulation a $7.7 billion business yearly in the United States and by 2009 expected to become a $20.75 billion market worldwide, insulation made without formaldehyde could help drastically improve indoor air quality as well as the safety and health of manufacturers, installers, office workers, homeowners, and others spending a good portion of their day indoors.

With a strong dedication to innovation and the environment, Rohm and Haas is making the impossible possible.

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