John Sayers' Recording Studio Design Forum

Health Risks For Mineral/Fibreglass Products?
Page 1 of 2

Author:  tmwhi [ Fri Jun 04, 2004 5:03 am ]
Post subject:  Health Risks For Mineral/Fibreglass Products?

I read a few articles on the internet declaring that synthetic mineral fibrous products present an "increased" risk of such health problems largely associated with asbestos, including throat/lung cancer.

Does anyone have any good links for information about this?
I did a search here but only found one short post.

I had planned to buy some 703 fibreglass this week to make some fabric covered panels, but I'm a bit hesitent now to surround myself with this stuff for hours every day!

Are there any special methods for covering/sealing the fibreglass/rockwool products that help mnimise the apparrent health risks? Is it anything for us to worry about?

Author:  xaMdaM [ Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:18 pm ]
Post subject: 

First, I'm NOT trying to trivialize your concerns...

This much I know from EPA notices, US press and general reading...
Asbestos is much more of a concern. The case generally being that unless it is moved (disturbed) it's left in place and it's perfectly OK to be left alone.

Again, it's only if it's going to be airborne, or a potential for becoming airborne that there is a concern.

I think the same "guidelines" would apply to mineral wool or fiberglass. If they were all that dangerous it would have been in the public arena long before now. Fiberglass has been used as a standard building material as long, if not longer than asbestos.

There are some known risks, sure. But those are well documented and beyond those known risks I'm not concerned. (Then too, I've been struck by lightning twice so a little irritation from glass wool is a bit too mild to get all excited about :wink: )

My .02,


Author:  tmwhi [ Sat Jun 05, 2004 5:28 am ]
Post subject: 

Good, nothing to worry about then.

The slight concern I did have was whether loose fibres became airborn if not covered and whether there were any necessary methods for preventing this for internal use of mineral/glass fibrous products.

I knew the health warnings I read about were regarding prolonged exposure by construction workers, etc.
It also mentioned about cutting the stuff, and use of loose clothing, gloves and a respirator(!), etc.

I realised that it doesn't cause anywhere near the severity of health risks of asbestos, it just said there were similar types of health problems.

Author:  knightfly [ Sun Jun 06, 2004 6:33 am ]
Post subject: 

If you wear protective clothing and masks while working on this stuff, then shower after, the rest is mostly "chicken little" from the more recent reports - Rod Gervais posted a more definitice answer to this, but I forgot which forum and couldn't find it. Basically, don't breathe the fibers when you're working with it, clean up after, and go make music.

John has had really good results acoustic-wise by wrapping the batts in thin plastic (not quite so much HF absorption, brighter rooms) and that will also help contain any other fibers - for the 2' x 4' batts, you can just use a pair of garbage bags one on each end, and tape the joint between. Helps a lot when stuffing them into overhead joist bays too... Steve

Author:  rod gervais [ Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

knightfly wrote:
If you wear protective clothing and masks while working on this stuff, then shower after, the rest is mostly "chicken little" from the more recent reports - Rod Gervais posted a more definitice answer to this, but I forgot which forum and couldn't find it. Basically, don't breathe the fibers when you're working with it, clean up after, and go make music.

OK Folks,

There have been more than a few questions/statements regarding health issue relating to fiberglass in the recent past - and tis time to maybe put the "myths" to rest.

It was reported in the late 80's early 90's about the possibility of fiberglass being a possible carcinogen - and many claims from various sources since then that it actually is.

However the following comes directly from the American Lung Association:

Direct contact with fiberglass materials or exposure to airborne fiberglass dust may irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Fiberglass can cause itching due to mechanical irritation from the fibers. This is not an allergic reaction to the material. Breathing fibers may irritate the airways resulting in coughing and a scratchy throat. Some people are sensitive to the fibers, while others are not. Fiberglass insulation packages display cancer warning labels. These labels are required by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) based on determinations made by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

1994- NTP listed fiberglass as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" based on animal data.

1998- The American Conference of Govern- mental Industrial Hygienists reviewed the available literature and concluded glass wool to be "carcinogenic in experimental animals at a relatively high dose, by route(s) of administra- tion, at site(s), of histologic type(s) or by mechanism(s) that are not considered relevant to worker exposures".

1999- OSHA and the manufacturers volunta- rily agreed on ways to control workplace exposures to avoid irritation. As a result, OSHA has stated that it does not intend to regulate exposure to fiberglass insulation. The voluntary agreement, known as the Health & Safety Partnership Program includes a recom- mended exposure level of 1.0 fiber per cubic centimeter (f/cc) based on an 8-hour workday and provides comprehensive work practices.

2000- The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reported that epidemiological studies of glass fiber manufacturing workers indicate "glass fibers do not appear to increase the risk of respiratory system cancer". The NAS supported the exposure limit of 1.0 f/cc that has been the industry recommendation since the early 1990s.

2001- The IARC 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.

Here is the link if you wish to check it out yourself:

In addition i would point out that the American Cancer Society does not even take the time to reference fiberglass.

The advice Steve gave above - protecting both your body and lungs from this product - that makes sense - but the claim that the product is a known health risk (never mind a carcinogen) is not recognized by any government agency of any country that i know.

The only claims I know that support the cancer/health risk myth are made by fringe groups not recognized by any govt or medical agencies that i am aware of. Apparently without any hard scientific backup to support the claims.

Be safe - be smart - but don't be afraid.........



Steve, if you want you can turn the above into a sticky........ save looking for it in the future......... it seems to come up quite often.

Author:  knightfly [ Sun Jun 06, 2004 10:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

Rod, thanks a bunch - now we don't have to look so hard. Sticky it is... Steve

Author:  Alec [ Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Hazards of Fiberglass

Hi, I am new to the board so I hope it is OK to post here..........I have read the above on health risks associated with Fiberglass. I found a place in Burbank CA called Victory Insulation 3014 Floyd Ave, I bought 9 2'x4'x2" John mandevill ISA 300 which the guy said was equivalent to 703. I plan to make Fabric wrapped panels with sound board on back and 2x2's as frames and then wrap in Fabric. MY Question is , is there a Bare Minimum type of Fabric I should use to cover that will block out airborne fibers but be acoustically Transparent as well? I bought Black Speaker cover Fabric from Joanns and would like to use on Panels but am not sure.... Any thoughts?

Author:  knightfly [ Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:22 am ]
Post subject: 

What you have is fine; but go to someplace like

and buy fire retardant spray; very few materials are fire safe without this.

Also - before you cover the 703, listen to some CD's in the room; then staple up some thin plastic painter's drop cloths over the fiberglass, and listen again; should be a bit brighter sounding. If it's OK or just a tiny bit bright, put your cloth over it and rejoice in the fact that you now have TWO barriers against little fibers and a good sound... Steve

Author:  daxliniere [ Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:03 am ]
Post subject:  What about Tontine Acoustisorb?

Hey everyone, just discovered this forum today.

*looks around* Nice place you guys got here!

Anyways, back to business. Why not use another product that is 100% safe and specifically designed as an acoustic treatment?
I'm talking about none other than Tontine Fibres. Their Acousticsorb product is fantastic.
data sheet
performance graphs
It's non-hazardous, critters won't make a nest in it, it's rot-resistant (or is it rot-proof?) and best of all, look at the specs!

Well, that's my 0.02

Author:  knightfly [ Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:16 am ]
Post subject: 

Dax, welcome; the tontine stuff looks good, but is apparently only available in Oz - good for you, bad for the REST of the world...

Glad you like the place 8) ... Steve

Author:  halfguard [ Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:01 am ]
Post subject: 

i didnt reallu understand about wrapping in thin plastic. should we do this before we put the covers on the fiberglass?

Author:  knightfly [ Sun Sep 03, 2006 6:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Yeah, otherwise it looks like plastic-wrapped sofa cushions... Steve

Author:  Hendrik [ Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

i tried to cover my rockwool in thin plastic, but it rustle when i touch it. is this a problem?รถ


Author:  Greenhorn [ Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:29 pm ]
Post subject: 

Rod, no offense, I have nothing but respect for you - and I'm not up for any debate on this issue - but I don't share your trust in these agencies. For example, Frank Rauscher, the senior VP of the American Cancer Society quit in 1988 to become the executive director of the Thermal Insulation Manufacturers Association (which has always promoted the use of fiberglass - and fights against its regulation) It's an incestuous relationship at best.

Judging solely by track records and nothing else, American regulatory agencies are amongst the least accurate and least effective in the world - their modus operandi is moving from one debacle to the next. Today's being the thousands of people who have lung disease from remaining in the area where the EPA told them they were safe after 9/11. Or the thousands of soldiers who are now returning with lung/health problems from depleted uranium in Iraq - which your health agencies still deny despite the mountains of evidence, which some even suspect includes birth defects: ... 3326c.html)

So it's ludicrous to cite these agencies as accurate, timely, or relevant. They are not in the business of protecting us. They are in the business of optics. These should be the very last folks you'd look to answers for in the "is fiberglass safe?" debate if the unedited truth is your goal.

Is someone could cite some long term human health studies by non-industry entities which explain the long term effects of low level exposure I'd be happy to read them. Until then I disagree that fiberglass is a desirable material to expose yourself to - particularly if only in the interests of saving a couple dollars. I'm astounded that people do that. But then again, given that the epidemic of obesity/diabetes hasn't caused anyone to change their diet it's no huge surprise that they don't worry about their lungs. :)

Rockwool is definitely not good for your lungs.

Author:  eyvindur [ Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

Well, I live in Iceland, and should be fairly safe from USA lobbyists, but I can tell you that nobody here, official or unofficial, states that rockwool or fiberglass products cause cancer. And they're the code for isolation (and from what my construction worker friend from the States tells me our codes are way more strict than that of our friends in the West). But of course they're not good for the lungs. If you inhale the particles you run the risk of respitory problems such as asthma, but not cancer. And it's a simple matter of making sure not to inhale the particles, protecting yourself, and it's perfectly safe. Construction workers in Iceland are doing just fine these days, despite using rockwool on a day-to-day basis.

But I for one would not let some fabric be the only thing between me and the particles (I've been around rockwool enough to be familiar with the irritation they can cause). Plastic sounds good (and is actually required by law here). I also read somewhere that you can use a spray-on adhesive to bind the particles before covering with fabric.

Anyway, speaking as somebody with a fair amount of experience with rockwool, I think it's a little bit paranoid to fear it like the plague. You just need to handle it responsibly.

Page 1 of 2 All times are UTC + 10 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group