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True, the foam is not, but the carbon monoxide released as a combustion by-product can be a serious problem if you are using a hot knife or wire to cut the foam in a work space that is not well-ventilated.
 

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According to the article to the link provided, the foam in question is the expanding foam used to insulate your home walls. This material is different than the “Great Stuff” used by haunters on their props. Besides, this article is for European use. Here in the state, we have different and tighter regulations then over on there. I wouldn’t go by this article. Being a member in the Firefighter field and a degree in Fire science, I would not recommend breathing either of the foams in question or any other foam product. But that’s just me.

Roxy Blue is correct. The carbon monoxide released is bad for you. Even in a well ventilated area, you need to keep your face away from the smoke created by the hot knife, flame, etc.

You just need to be careful when working with foam. Yes, it a great product when you correctly
 

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Interesting...but it says right in the article that two toxic gases are released: carbon monoxide and styrene. Here's a couple of links concerning styrene and styrene monomer: http://www.styrenemonomer.org/2.1.html, http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/styrene/index.html. That odor you smell when cutting/carving it with a hot wire is the bad stuff being released. I gotta go with GRP and the others on this one. And a well-ventilated area doesn't mean a fan moving the air around in the workshop, it means plenty of fresh, uncontaminated air flowing into the area. And lower risk doesn't mean no risk.

Am I gonna stop using this stuff? Heck, no!! It's too awesome to give up. But I'm not going to spend a couple of hours a day huffing the fumes, either. This is the reason I stopped using a hot wire to cut and carve it. Personally, I find it easier to deal with the dust hazards than the fume hazards.
 

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Melting Rigid Foam

I've read a lot of cautionary statements about the hazards of melting rigid foam insulation, for example, using a wood burning tool to carve grout lines in a brick facade.

It's often said that in addition to working in a well-ventilated area, be careful not to breathe the fumes because of the toxic nature of them. I've read a lot of similar anecdotal stuff too about it, but never anything definitive. A search of the Internet turned up nothing official either and even the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for rigid insulation says nothing about it, dealing primarily with ingesting the dust from sanding it or cutting it.

So I wrote to Owens-Corning, which makes the pink foam such as that commonly found in Home Depot, and asked them if there was any particular health risk associated with burning pink foam or the nature of the fumes given off. The answer might surprise you, and I repost my question to them and their exact statement below:

"As a hobbyist I regularly use Foamular extruded polystyrene insulation for various craft projects, some of which require the heating of the product to deform it.

There seems to be a lot of anecdotal commentary that doing such releases toxic fumes so that use of a respirator or performed in a well-ventilated area is recommended and/or required. While the above makes sense, I have been unable to find a factual basis for the opinion. Even the MSDS for Foamular only discusses dust particles.

Thus, are there "toxic fumes" released by heating the Foamular as is often expressed or what is the danger of doing so?

Thank you for your time and for making a product exceptionally useful for crafters and hobbyists, let alone home builders and remodelers.

Rich"


And their response:

"Burning Foamular has toxicity similar to burning wood. Casual exposure should not be an issue, but we would still recommend respirator for prolonged exposure.

Owens Corning
GET TECH"


So while I'm sure we don't want to be taking deep breaths of the stuff as we're working for extended periods of time, I also don't think we need to freak out any more that we'll be melting brain cells along with the foam while we're working on it. If you're perhaps working on a big wall panel you might want to wear a mask, but I think we can otherwise stow away the hazmat suits.

Rich
 

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I use my wife as a gauge. She is very susceptible to any inhalants. Mold in a room causes her to choke. Froggys' fog does not. Other fog juices do (can you guess what we use?). My wife cannot be in the back yard when I am carving in the garage. This tells me I shouldn't be breathing it. So, I wear a mask.
 

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Pumpkin Hill Gravekeeper
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Something is going to get me anyway. Might as well go to the "great haunt in the sky" while doing something I enjoy.:jol:
 

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my 2$

toxic or not, as someone who has burnt/melted the foam

http://www.hauntforum.com/showthread.php?t=2574&highlight=tombstone

it does a number on your throat. I burnt it outside and my throat was sore for 4 days afterwards. (at least)

My recommendation: Wear a respirator/mask whether it is toxic or not----or have a sore throat for up to a week----that no cough drop/liquid will cure.

(getting down from soapbox now)
 

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Hmm.. I wonder what their definition of toxicity is. I can only speak from my experience, but the fumes from that stuff give me a splitting headache and make me feel a little dumber than usual. The dust gives me headaches and pink grainy snot for a week!
 

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If you use the new green foam from lowes you can have green grainy snot for a week!

Pagan said:
Hmm.. I wonder what their definition of toxicity is. I can only speak from my experience, but the fumes from that stuff give me a splitting headache and make me feel a little dumber than usual. The dust gives me headaches and pink grainy snot for a week!
 
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