If you’re having trouble heating and cooling your home evenly and you’ve got ice dams every winter, there’s a good chance the insulation in your attic could use improvement. Inadequate insulation can lead to a wide range of problems in a home including unhealthy air quality, roof damage, outsized energy costs, and health hazards for your home’s occupants.

In this post from The Construction Group, we’re discussing some of the most common health hazards that can arise from poor insulation in your attic and walls. To get a free quote on your insulation updates, call today and connect with our home insulation services team.


Many older attic insulation materials contain carcinogens or cancer-causing agents that aren’t used in today’s products. Through a process known as “off-gassing,” toxins are able to leak from the insulation into your home. Many of these carcinogenic products are banned in modern insulation materials.

Vermiculite is a material that was used as a type of blown-in insulation throughout the 20th century. To identify vermiculite, look for insulation that looks like small pebbles or packing material. Vermiculite insulation can contain asbestos, which exposes anyone who comes into contact with it to a number of cancer risks. These include lung cancer, esophageal cancer, throat cancer, and mesothelioma, among others. 

Due to the increased risk of carcinogenic materials, it’s important to have these materials removed by a home remodeling service that’s experienced at working with potentially harmful materials.


One of the most common dangerous insulation materials from the 1980s and earlier is urea formaldehyde. This foam was widely used beginning in the early-to-mid-20th century and can be identified by its yellowish hue and resinated appearance. Formaldehyde exposure from off-gassing can lead to significant health problems including respiratory and eye problems or even neurological and memory problems.


Older homes with aging insulation are particularly vulnerable to animal and pest infestation. Once bats, squirrels, rats, and their ilk get into your attic, they can leave behind nests and feces. Animal infestations can be harmful to the air inside your home and anyone who physically comes into contact with the insulation materials.

These types of pests can be difficult to safely and thoroughly remove from your home once they’ve taken up residence. And mice and squirrels will burrow right through the wood and other materials in your attic, sometimes leading to extensive damage.


Prior to today’s modern fiberglass materials, homes typically used fiberglass insulation containing fibers and resin particles. These tiny particles can be easily breathed in by anyone who comes into contact with them, leading to severe respiratory problems in some cases.

Fiberglass insulation can also irritate the skin and eyes of anyone who comes into contact with it. Always let a professional handle your fiberglass insulation, and never come into close contact with fiberglass insulation without proper safety equipment.


Mold is one of the most significant health risks in older homes. Once mold begins to take hold, it can be extremely difficult to remediate since spores are microscopic and travel easily.

And unfortunately, mold can create a whole host of health problems from mild respiratory issues to severe and life-threatening health problems that last a lifetime. Mold growth is often caused by roof leaks, which allow moisture into your attic where mold can affect your attic and insulation.


Ice dams can occur when your attic insulation isn’t adequately limiting heat flow from inside your home to your roof. During the cold winter months when snow covers your roof, this heat can lead to uneven temperatures on your roof. As the heat from your home melts the snow on your roof, it begins to drain but refreezes when it reaches the cold eaves. There, this ice can build up quickly, creating a natural dam that prevents water from running into your gutter canal system and away from your home.

Ice dams can wreak havoc on your roof and lead to a host of additional problems that threaten your home and increase the risk of structural damage and mold. When water runs over the ice dam to the ground below, it can damage your foundation. Ice dams can also be destructive to gutters, causing them to break and pull away from the roof. And once the water on your roof leaks into your home, it can damage your sheetrock, ceiling, and insulation.


Do you live in an older home? Chances are your insulation could be threatening the safety of everyone who lives there. To have your attic or home insulation assessed by our professional home insulation services team at The Construction Group, give us a call today at 651-731-5857. Or contact us on the web to find out more about energy-efficient home insulation upgrades for your Minnesota home.