Since the Clean Air Act was amended in 1990, fiberglass insulation manufacturing plants have been required to limit emissions of formaldehyde, phenol, and methanol -- hazardous pollutants produced by the manufacture of fiberglass insulation. Normally, limiting these emissions requires the installation of expensive and complicated pollution abatement equipment, but fiberglass insulation manufacturer Johns Manville has managed to exempt itself from the Clean Air Act with one simple change in its products.
In March 2002, the company made the switch from using a formaldehyde-based binder in its fiberglass products to an acrylic resin binder. This switch has eliminated all binder-related formaldehyde, phenol, and methanol emissions from Johns Manville's manufacturing process. Consequently, the EPA has announced that the Clean Air Act restrictions on fiberglass manufacturing plants no longer apply to Johns Manville plants. The formaldehyde-free products also eliminate emissions concerns after installation.