700 Ontario Homes Insulated with UFFI

John Pasalis in Toronto Real Estate News

In the past 18 months 700 Ontario homes have been insulated with a prohibited type of insulation called urea formaldehyde-based thermal insulation (UFFI). The insulation was imported illegally by Retrofoam of Canada Incorporated.  UFFI was prohibited in Canada in 1980 because it may release formaldehyde gas into indoor air.

Here's the complete advisory from Health Canada's website.

OTTAWA - Health Canada is informing consumers that RetroFoam of Canada Incorporated imported and illegally sold RetroFoam insulation in Canada. RetroFoam is a urea formaldehyde-based thermal insulation (UFFI). This type of insulation was prohibited in Canada in December 1980 under the Hazardous Products Act. Health Canada was recently advised that RetroFoam has been installed in a limited number of homes in Ontario.

Once Health Canada became aware the Hazardous Products Act had been contravened, the department took prompt compliance and enforcement action. Health Canada issued a "cease and desist" letter to RetroFoam of Canada Incorporated, the Canadian importer of the insulation, to stop all importation and sale of RetroFoam in Canada. Health Canada also instructed Enerliv, the Canadian distributor of RetroFoam, to stop all sale, advertisement and further installations of the product and to call back any unused product. RetroFoam, RetroFoam of Canada Inc., and Enerliv were placed on Canada Border Service Agency's automated system target list to prevent any future importation of this product. As a result of Health Canada's actions, RetroFoam is no longer available for sale or installation in Canada.

RetroFoam of Canada Inc. is responsible for ensuring that the products they import, sell or advertise meet the requirements of the Hazardous Products Act and its regulations. Health Canada is currently reviewing its legal options.

Urea formaldehyde insulation is prohibited in Canada because it may release formaldehyde gas into indoor air. Health Canada is taking further regulatory action to protect the health and safety of homeowners who have had RetroFoam installed in their homes by supporting them in having their indoor air quality tested.

Health Canada will be communicating directly with homeowners to provide further details on how they can obtain Government support for having their indoor air quality tested. Additional information will be available shortly on the Department’s Website and is available via a toll-free number: 1-800-443-0395.

John Pasalis is a sales associate at Prudential Properties Plus in Toronto and a founder of Realosophy. Email John

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