There is exposed fiberglass insulation in my attic (in other words, paper
side out, exposed fiberglass side in). I'd like to cover some areas of
frequent use so there is no exposure to our skin as we touch it. Ideas?
as opposed to skin exposure, you might be breathing it in
fiberglass is a known carcinogen (produces cancer) and required to be
labeled as such in the usa
fiberglass fibers are microscopic and cannot be seen, except for maybe
looking in the area when it is completely dark with a flashlight and seeing
the floating fibers in the light beam, they look shiny
if you must have frequent use of an area with exposed fiberglass, wearing
breathing masks is an idea, and if you want to cover the fiberglass to
minimize touch exposure, an idea is using nonflammable plastic perforated
with tiny holes so the fiberglass can breathe, which minimizes mold etc.
another idea would be remove the fiberglass entirely and use environmentally
safe insulation, like recycled cotton insulation treated with
environmentally safe pesticide and mold/fungus repellant, or sheep wool if
you have the bucks,,,cellulose is another idea
Fiberglass is not a "known" carcinogen and, while labeling as such is
required by OSHA, they don't know squat and the data on which their
requirement was based is hoplessly out of date.
The American Lung Association says:
"The IARC [Intl Agency for Research on Cancer] working group revised their
previous classification of glass wool being a possible carcinogen. It is
currently considered not classifiable as a human carcinogen. Studies done in
the past 15 years since the previous report was released, do not provide
enough evidence to link this material to any cancer risk."
All of which are flammable. Might as well use straw or crumpled newspaper.
it is beneficial to the fiberglass industry that you contributed the above
comments in favor of fiberglass
here is information from just one of the almost 60,000 hits on google for
"fiberglass carcinogen" about fiberglass being a "potent carcinogen", noting
fiberglass is tiny pieces of glass, hardly something one wants to introduce
into their lungs or body by breathing or any other method
Corning Fiberglas Company was formed in 1938, and only three years later, in
1941, evidence of pulmonary disease was reported by Walter J. Siebert, who
investigated the health of workers with the cooperation of Owens Corning.
Fiber glass is now used for thermal insulation of industrial buildings and
homes, as acoustic insulation, for fireproofing, as a reinforcing material
in plastics, cement, and textiles, in automotive components, in gaskets and
seals, in filters for air and fluids, and for many other miscellaneous uses.
More than 30,000 commercial products now contain fiber glass.
As asbestos has been phased out because of health concerns, fiber glass
production in the U.S. has been rising. In 1975, U.S. production of fiber
glass was 247.88 million kilograms (545.3 million pounds); by 1984 it had
risen to 632.88 million kilograms (1392.3 million pounds). If that rate of
growth (10.4% per year) held steady, then production of fiber glass in the
U.S. in 1995 would be 4365 million pounds.
Dr. Mearl F. Stanton of the National Cancer Institute found that glass
fibers less then 3 microns in diameter and greater than 20 microns in length
are "potent carcinogens" in rats; and, he said in 1974, "it is unlikely that
different mechanisms are operative in man." A micron is a millionth of a
meter (and a meter is about three feet). Fibers of this size not only cause
cancer in laboratory animals, but also cause changes in the activity and
chemical composition of cells, leading to changes in the genetic structure
in the cellular immune system.
In 1970, Dr. Stanton announced that "it is certain that in the pleura of the
rat, fibrous glass of small diameter is a potent carcinogen." The pleura is
the outer casing of the lungs; cancer of the pleura in humans is called
mesothelioma and it is caused by asbestos fibers. Stanton's research shows
that when glass fibers are manufactured as small as asbestos fibers, glass
causes cancer in laboratory animals just as asbestos does.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), of the World Health
Organization, listed fiber glass as a "probable [human] carcinogen" in 1987.
In 1990, the members of the U.S. National Toxicology Program
(NTP)<representatives of 10 federal health agencies<concluded unanimously
that fiber glass "may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen" in
humans. In 1994, the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services reported to
Congress that fiber glass is "reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen." In
the U.S., fiber glass must now be labeled a carcinogen.
It has been 25 years since researchers at the National Cancer Institute
concluded that fiber glass is a potent carcinogen in experimental animals.
Since then science has well documented the hazard. Ninety percent of
American homes now contain fiber glass insulation. All of this fiber glass
will eventually be released into the environment and cause significant
your comment on the flamability of cotton insulation, sheep wool, and
cellulose of "All of which are flammable. Might as well use straw or
crumpled newspaper." indicate you probably did not research the matter;
information on the combustibility of sheep wool (naturally fire retardant),
cotton insulation (treated with fire retardant), and cellulose insulation
(treated with fire retardant) is readily available through an internet
You don't say whether the exposed insulation is in roof / ceiling,
walls, or floor.
The rest of the building is most probably insulated.
The insulation covered with standard building materials.
You can do the same.
If you are walking over your insulation, as in it's between the top
most floor's ceiling and the floor of the attic, you might have it
Now if it's on semi finished walls in your attic, I've seen people put
up like 6 mil poly to keep dust down, and it will work as a vapor and
Just guessing, since I can't see your installation. Got photos? :)
tom @ www.FindMeShelter.com
replying to Tom The Great, DIYDon wrote:
Cover it with Tyvek or similar highly permeable air infiltration barrier.
It’s pretty darn cheap and if stapled and taped, you may also get some heat
transfer reduction by reducing convection losses. (There’s highly regarded
data from a Canadian government lab showing that at very low temperatures,
fiberglass is porous enough to enable convection current to develop within the
insulation, drastically reducing effectivess. ........Probably more critical of
you live in Alberta😀.
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