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Is Cellulose Attic Insulation & Wall Insulation Containing Borate Safe?

Today’s question is coming from Kimberly from Falls Church Virginia. And it’s an important question about attic insulation and wall insulation. Kimberly asked:

“Is cellulose attic and wall insulation containing Borate safe?”

As I mentioned in the video, cellulose insulation containing borate is a great way to safely deal with pests provided your ductwork isn’t leaking.

Borate is often added to insulation as a way to deal with pests, because borate can be toxic when ingested in adequate amounts. It’s this fact that makes people nervous about adding it to their home. The fact remains, however, that in order to eat enough of it for it poison you, you would need to be eating your insulation each day.

Borate can actually be found in numerous households – even those that don’t have it added to their insulation – simply because it’s often added to laundry detergents as a way to get your clothes clean. Again, in small doses, borate is not poisonous or toxic to people.

Since most people don’t eat borate, however, and touching it and even wearing it isn’t an issue, you may be accidentally overlooking  the one and only way that it could a potential problem in your home – inhalation.

This is the one area you really need to be aware of if you intend to use this type of insulation in your home. This is because insulation containing borate can be potentially hazardous if it is becoming airborne and traveling through your home as dust. The ductwork from your HVAC system often runs through areas where the insulation may be located, and leaks in the ducts could be pulling particles from the borate-infused insulation into your air supply. If your find that when you run your home’s HVAC system that your ducts are producing a lot of dust and sending it out into the air it probably means that your ducts are leaky and are pulling particles in through the system as it runs. This, therefore, could be one way that borate can be ingested in sufficient quantity to cause injury – through inhalation of the dust particles.

If you suspect that your ducts are leaky, we suggest giving our sister company, America’s Best Energy Team a call. They can perform an energy audit on your home which includes evaluating your ductwork for leaks. If they find any, they can also help you repair them so that your home is less dusty, and you’re saving money on energy each month that could be leaking out of your ducts as well.

So if you have a pest problem in your home, adding some insulation containing borate can be a good way to get rid of the problem. You just have to ensure that your ducts are in good shape with no potential leaks that could be spreading the borate through your home where it could be inhaled or ingested in sufficient quantity to cause injury.

If after an energy audit you find that your ducts are in good condition – or that you can repair them to get them into good condition – adding some cellulose insulation that contains borate to your walls, ceiling, or attic can be a great way of controlling pests.

 

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