Warnings if you are working with foam...

Canvas covered foamies (Thrifty Alternatives...)

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Re: Warnings if you are working with foam...

Postby smit0577 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:33 am

Hi,

I love the idea of a foamie and I really appreciate all the enthusiasm and knowledge on this forum. So I do not mean to offend and hope this post is not taken as an insult. But, it should be said, I've got a really strong worry-wort in me, and I'm building this for little kids so....

1. Are there any health concerns with sleeping in a foamie? Not the CO2 concern, we will crack a window or run a fan or something, but more like does it continually off gas a flame retardant or something that will eventually turn little healthy lungs into swiss cheese?

2. Does it continually off gas some sort of extremely potent greenhouse gas, so using XPS is just hastening climate change?

3. Why is this post a sticky? The first few posts seem like they've been heavily edited or something. I'll add that I don't plan on leaving the the big boxer lab mix alone in the camper ever. She would figure out a way to destroy it.

I've got a highly concerned wife, the aforementioned little kids, and also some somewhat judgmental folks in my life regarding environmental health and impact. So I'd like to at least do a little due diligence. My lazy web surfing led me to ask these questions. I'm not trying to start a flame war or anything, just turning to some enthusiastic foam supporters for insight.

Thanks!

Scott
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Re: Warnings if you are working with foam...

Postby KCStudly » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:03 pm

To my knowledge the biggest hazard is the dust during fabrication, and possibly the fumes when it melts from hot wire cutting or, heaven forbid, in a fire.

Once it is built and encapsulated I don't think you have anything to worry about.

I think the reason this stuff got a bad rap in CA and has been banned there has more to do with the manufacturing process and post consumer waste disposal; that big junk pile floating out in the middle of the Pacific has a lot of people pissed off.

Wear a dust mask (or better yet a respirator) when cutting or sanding (... really should do this with wood, too...); clean your work area well with a good shop vac; collect all of your scraps in a big garbage bag, tightly closed, and dispose in your regular waste stream (unless local regs ban... not sure if any do or why they would).
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Re: Warnings if you are working with foam...

Postby smit0577 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:12 pm

Thanks!

Onward.......
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Re: Warnings if you are working with foam...

Postby dancam » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:41 pm

Yes, the foam is totally encapsulated by waterproof glue and then many layers of paint. There should be no way for fumes to escape unless it is punctured and then since it is closed cell foam only a small amount would come out if there was any.

As far as environmental impact what are you comparing it to? Building your own foamie is more environmentally friendly than buying a commercially built one. There is a lot of pollution and waste in the process of manufacturing the parts, shipping them to the factory, building them in a factory that mostly cares about how many they can produce in a day, shipping them to the dealer, then the dealership operating till you buy it.

Is the foam approved for indoor use in houses? I have never checked.

And when kcstudly said dispose of the leftovers in the waste stream i think he meant a dumpster and not your local river :)
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Re: Warnings if you are working with foam...

Postby QueticoBill » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:43 pm

While I'm not terribly concerned, in a house or other building most building and fire codes would require it not be exposed, and covered by 1/2" gypsum wallboard or similar. Whether canvas and glue, thin plywood, fibreglass, or other coverings are sufficient is hard to tell without testing.
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Re: Warnings if you are working with foam...

Postby KCStudly » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:58 pm

Yes, "waste stream" in the civil engineering spirit of the term, not a natural running water stream. ;)

Some people still have landfills, some transfer stations, some direct to energy burn plants, etc.

My trash goes to a burn plant located about three miles from Dow's Allyn's Point blue foam plant.
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Re: Warnings if you are working with foam...

Postby Gator417 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:55 am

Dancan, I doubt it is really more environmentally friendly to build rather than buy.
First, all of your materials have to be shipped from manufacturer to retailer. More economical than shipping a whole camper, but not by much,
Next, all of the materials one will waste during the learning/r&d phase.
Also, the inefficiency of only being able to work a couple hours at a time (heating or cooling the workspace, clean-up time etc).
Finally, the multiple trips back and forth to the retailer to get the wrong parts or materials so many times before getting it right.
I'd say its a wash at best.
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