Fiberglass hazards in buildings:
This article series provides information about how to identify fiberglass insulation in buildings and fiberglass hazards and fiberglass insulation contamination issues in residential and light-commercial buildings.
The fiberglass research literature is replete with studies indicating that there are no health hazards associated with airborne fiberglass particles, and with other studies reaching quite the opposite conclusion.
We recommend that readers examine carefully the methodology used in such studies, the expertise of the researchers, and the sources financing of such work.
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Where else do we find fiberglass in buildings besides floor, wall and attic insulation?
What are the Problems with Identifying Fiberglass Hazards in buildings? Microscopic identification of fiberglass insulation fragments,
Health concerns of fiberglass exposure, Mold hazards in fiberglass insulation,
Fiberglass exposure hazard reference list, Fiberglass insulation demolition mess, itching, dust persistence
[Click to enlarge any image]
Based on literature review as well as both field and laboratory experience, it is reasonable to claim that large particles of fiberglass are far more likely to be a respiratory or skin irritant than a carcinogen or other more serious health hazard.
However some of our field and lab inspections detect very small, even sub-micron sized particles which are traced to building insulation.
These much smaller particles may indeed be a health hazard, and may be entirely omitted or simply missed by some laboratories charged with reporting on the level of fiberglass in building air or dust.
This article explains the recognition of types of fiberglass insulation in buildings, other fiberglass particle sources, and some possible health concerns that involve these materials.
Fiberglass building insulation is commonly installed in batts or chopped forms and may be yellow, pink, green, or white in color as is shown in these photographs.
While this material is not and should not be confused with asbestos nor with the well-studied health hazards associated with exposure to asbestos fibers or dust, our separate article on Airborne Fiberglass Building Insulation Hazards [link just below] and HVAC duct work insulation hazards contains additional discussion about possible air quality and health concerns which may be associated with exposure to fiberglass dust.
Fiberglass duct insulation material appears in several forms in heating and air conditioning systems in both ducts and air handlers themselves.
The most common uses of fiberglass insulating material in HVAC systems includes the cases listed below.
The annotated duct system photographs shown in the article cited below will permit any careful observer to identify the most common types of fiberglass HVAC duct materials.
We provide these (C)-protected photographs of fiberglass insulated ducts and HVAC components to aid in recognition of these materials.
Our detailed article on how to recognize fiberglass duct insulation and its characteristics and hazards can be read in its entirety at FIBERGLASS HVAC DUCTS.
Special challenges face consumers requesting lab services for identification of fiberglass fragments in air, dust, or material samples are easily identified in the forensic laboratory using light and polarized light microscopy and common slide preparation techniques.
Our photograph (left) shows a typical fiberglass insulation fiber with droplets of resin binder attached. It's easy to identify large fiberglass fibers in transmitted-light microscopy.
But identification of very small fiberglass fragments in a building dust or air sample can be difficult to detect unless the microscopist is trained and looking for that material, and special methods such as use of phase contrast may be needed.
Observing the color of a fiberglass bonding resin can help trace particular fiberglass in a building air or dust sample back to its source.
Other fiberglass products, such as this Certainteed un bonded blowing wool (fiberglass) lack a characteristic resin. Interestingly in this client-provided sample of nearly-new blown-in fiberglass insulation we found very few small fiber fragments. Dust tested from that home was also low in fiberglass fragments.
The common errors which result in failing to detect small fiberglass particles in building air and dust are discussed in detail at LAB IDENTIFICATION OF FIBERGLASS
In that article we also discuss techniques which permit the forensic microscopy lab to identify the source or reservoir of particular fiberglass fragments in a building, sorting out among many possible fiber sources to pinpoint the particular problem such as damaged building insulation, damaged HVAC duct work, or other particle sources.
We also discuss how to distinguish among types of insulating and other fibers, comparing various types of fiberglass insulation, mineral wool insulation, asbestos insulation, and other fibers.
Frequent presence of fiberglass fragments in air and some dust samples, suggests that an HVAC duct system or exposed fiberglass insulation in the building may be contributing unwanted and potentially unsafe levels of these fibers. This discussion can be read in its entirety at FIBERGLASS DETECTION in BUILDING AIR & DUST.
We have also detected high levels of problematic mold in fiberglass building insulation where other mold reservoirs were either not present or had been previously removed.
This article can be read in its entirety at MOLD in FIBERGLASS INSULATION
I have a question regarding fiberglass insulation. I pest control worker, who is trying to rid us of rats in the attic, removed the fiberglass insulation from the attic space but dragged the insulation through the house. Now, we are constantly itching. Is is due to fiberglass particles in the air?
What can we do? We've vacuumed a lot but it's not helping. Help! Thank you for your time, M & M.
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem such as incomplete cleaning, or some other problem source yet unnoticed, including a biological hazard associated with the rodents themselves.
In addition to consulting your doctor who may in turn decide to refer you to a dermatologist, you might also benefit from reviewing the ITCHING & SCRATCHING RESEARCH found in
our article concerning MORGELLONS SYNDROME.
That said, here are some things to consider about itching after messing with fiberglass insulation:
Dragging fiberglass through a building is likely to have left a fair amount of broken fiberglass fragments on floors and through air transport, as settled dust on surfaces
. If you haven't done so you may want to clean the rooms through which insulation was dragged using damp wiping and then HEPA vacuuming of all surfaces, especially floors, carpets and any nearby furniture, shelving, etc.
It can take two or in a few cases even three trips through the washing machine to remove enough fine insulation fragments from clothing that it would not any longer be irritating to your skin
In my experience, working with insulation, especially during demolition when lots of material is broken up and airborne, the skin itching can last for a day or two after the work has been completed.
Taking a couple of showers, washing fully, may remove the dust, debris, and fiber fragments, or nearly all of them, from your person, but the skin may have become irritated, taking a bit longer to recover.
If itching continues after you've cleaned yourself, clothing, and any dust left in the building (use a HEPA vacuum when vacuuming up fine dust), then I suggest checking with your doctor or a dermatologist.
If you have reason to suspect that there remains irritating dust and an irritating dust source in the building, I'd consider collecting one or two tape samples of settled dust from a horizontal surface in an area where you spend the most time and in an area where you think the dust is worst.
Have those samples analyzed to identify the dominant particles - as that may be diagnostic. Cost per sample for such analysis, using microscopy, should be in the $50. ballpark per sample. You shouldn't need many samples, perhaps two or at most two plus a control.
A settled dust collection procedure for collecting a dust sample that should be just fine is found at MOLD TEST KITS for DIY MOLD TESTS. Please do not send us your sample. I want to avoid even the appearance of any conflict of interest.
More about fiberglass exposure and itching and cleaning fiberglass-contaminated clothing are below in FAQs about fiberglass dust, particle, & mold hazards in buildings
2016/02/14 Char said:
When you say that there is always detectable amounts of fiberglass in air/dust, is it in noticeable amounts or microscopic or...? Should I be concerned about exposed insulation in my basement? And, when they're talking about special-purpose fiberglass being a carcinogen, what makes it "special purpose" and what products fall into that?
Would fiberglass from building boats/canoes be in that category? Thanks in advance, I'm having some fiberglass contamination issues and trying to learn what I can.
This question was posted originally at ENVIRO-SCARE - PUBLIC FEAR CYCLES where we discuss worries about fiberglass exposure.
Having examined many indoor dust and air samples, I intended to say that I will almost always find at least some fiberglass fragments in most buildings. However the number of such particles will not normally be significant - certainly it's not the dominant particle.
Fiberglass release from building boats/canoes would be more noticeable as the fiberglass is cut, handled or abraded such as by sanding. In such an environment it might be significant, depending on what work is being done and how dust control is being managed.
I'd be more concerned about very small fiberglass fragments in the 1u range that may be released by grinding or sanding.
So how concerned should I be... Building canoes we cut fiberglass matting and I wear a respirator, but I always get a significant amount on my clothing/jacket and it gets tracked into my vehicle and home. There is enough in my vehicle that I can easily see dozens of fibers, hundreds, when I shine a light.
My work has no dust collection system, only gloves, apron, and respirators. We also cut Kevlar, but I'm only really concerned with the fiberglass.
I cannot assess nor even guess at actual airborne particle level exposures from an e-text. Certainly there are OSHA regulations about dust control in the workplace.
Quoting from OSHA,
Synthetic mineral fibers are fibrous inorganic substances made primarily from rock, clay, slag, or glass. These fibers are classified into three general groups: fiberglass (glass wool and glass filament), mineral wool (rock wool and slag wool), and refractory ceramic fibers (RCF).
There are more than 225,000 workers in the US exposed to synthetic mineral fibers in manufacturing and end-use applications.
Workers have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. The OSHA law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights under the law (including the right to raise a health and safety concern or report an injury). For more information see www.whistleblowers.gov or Workers' rights under the OSH Act.
OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. To reach your regional or area OSHA office, go to the OSHA Offices by State webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
Small businesses may contact OSHA's free On-site Consultation services funded by OSHA to help determine whether there are hazards at their worksites. To contact free consultation services, go to OSHA's On-site Consultation webpage or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and press number 4.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. Workers can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online via eComplaint Form, or by printing the complaint form and mailing or faxing it to the local OSHA area office. Complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.
If you think your job is unsafe or if you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Your contact will be kept confidential. We can help. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page. - retrieved 2016/02/16, original source: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/syntheticmineralfibers/
And see the article above where I explain that most likely the more serious hazards are with the smaller particles. An individual can also protect himself with respirator and proper clothing. At home I'd HEPA vacuum areas where you are concerned about high dust levels and I'd clean clothes by laundering.
Thank you for your reply. However, I am Canadian so those phone numbers and contact information doesn't apply to me. Is there something similar for Canadians? I'm assuming there would be
Sorry for the presumption. The US OSHA general advice about fiberglass hazards should be valid world-wide but of course none of the phone numbers make sense for you.
In Canada see http://www.canoshweb.org/ Canada's National Workplace Health & Safety Website
There you'll see a provincial map that gives contact information by province.
Canadians are less fearful of fiberglass than some Yanks. The Health Canada discussion of workplace IAQ mentions mold and general hazards and housekeeping
CCOHS FAQs on IAQ includes this comment on Canadian laws or guidelines for IAQ - not specific to fiberglass
Many Canadian jurisdictions do not have specific legislation that deals with indoor air quality issues. In the absence of such legislation, the "general duty clause" applies. This clause, common to all Canadian occupational health and safety legislation, states that an employer must provide a safe and healthy workplace. Thus, making sure the air is of good quality is the employer's duty.
Several organizations* have published recommended guidelines for indoor air quality. For example, Health Canada has prepared a number of publications on air quality. In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has compiled information on Indoor Air Quality.
In addition, IAQ is implied in most building codes as design and operation criteria. Building codes in Canada and the U.S. generally refer to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers* (ASHRAE) Standard 62.1-2010 - Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality (or previous versions), or other acceptable standards.
It is important to understand that most IAQ standards and guidelines are established to ensure the comfort of workers. So these values tend to be lower than regulatory values that are set to protect workers from possible health based hazards.
*We have mentioned these organizations as a means of providing a potentially useful referral. You should contact these organizations directly for more information. - "OSH Answers Fact Sheets, Indoor Air Quality - General, Are there laws or guidelines for IAQ [in Canada]?", retrieved 2016/02/16, original source: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/iaq_intro.html
An industry where fiberglass hazards have long been discussed as "Yachtmaker's Lung Disease"
You'll see that styrene exposure hazards are also discussed.
For U.K. readers more about dust and fiberglass hazards and regulations are at POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs in this article - click to show the FAQs.
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I wish there was a device for seeing & proving clothing is contaminated with fibreglass. - 8/7/11
Because sampling and microscopic examination are needed, I don't foresee an economical, free, or cheap stand-alone "device" specifically to test clothing for fiberglass contamination.
But testing clothing for fiberglass is easy, something I've done for a number of insurance claims and other cases: we use a vacuum cassette and pump to sample the fabrics, followed by a microscopic examination of the sample for dominant particle types. Testing fabrics, clothing, drapes, carpets, upholstery for high levels of fiberglass particles and for small (irritating) fiberglass fragments is technically easy using a combination of vacuum sampling cassette and forensic microscopy. But in my OPINION such testing is not justified without good reason.
However, for most cases, because clothing can usually be laundered or dry cleaned, it makes equal or even more sense to spend your money on cleaning the clothes rather than testing them. Even in cases of high levels of fiberglass exposure, double laundering or dry cleaning has in my experience proven quite effective. I've examined cotton denim fabric (blue jeans) after working on installing fiberglass building insulation in a dusty environment, and after the clothes were laundered twice. The remaining fiberglass particles were in the incidental range after cleaning.
Just renting an apartment, but may want to raise kids in it. Is there any way that I can tell if the apartment is safe? - Jon 11/28/11
PS- See comment below - Is in what would be the attic, floorboards don't have any sealant between them so is why I'm a bit worried.
You could hire a professional home inspector to examine your home, asking him/her to concentrate on safety issues and concerns. I wouldn't start my worry list with fiberglass when there may be trip and fall hazards etc. at a building. Start with fixing items of highest risk.
Hi! I installed one of those rotating air vents which suck the air out of the roof cavity into the roof space some time ago. The composition of the roof is "wooden coverings > insulation layer (grey) > glass fiber (or so I think it is - a yellow wooly stuff like the one in your very first picture all the way on the left). The roof itself is thin - 20-30 cm or so, so we sleep in a room directly under that vent (i.e. the vent is about 30 cm higher than the top of the roof which we can touch from the inside).
I had to open up the grey insulation layer and remove some of the yellow wooly stuff when I installed the fan. Though I sealed the roof itself (corrugated iron), I did not seal much around the fiberglass, though I put it somewhat out of the way around the area in between the actual rotating roof vent and the roof vent (in the wood). So basically it is now like this: wood (with plastic roof vent) > open area of about 20-30cm height which contains the yellow wooly stuff and the opened up insulation later, both these starting about 5-10cm inwards > the actual roof vent/corrugated roof. IOW,
I assume it is quite possible for fibers to dislodge from the yellow stuff and to enter through the plastic vent. We have a newborn sleeping upstairs, so I am concerned now that I have been looking more into this all. Another thing is that the wood (which is basically the whole roof of our bedroom) also has tiny holes. I guess this is not much of a concern since the grey insulation layer is still on top of it (I think, I have to go back onto the roof and see if the grey insulation is actually on top of the wood - presumably so - or on top of the yellow stuff).
In any case, the vent concerns me now more than ever. What should I do? I have been thinking about getting some thin aluminum or so and making the roof vent tunnel complete (all the way to the wood - about 20-30cm) and sealing it up with silicon etc. Please advice, bit scared. - Anthony 12/20/11
Anthony I'm sorry but I don't quite understand exactly the question nor situation you describe. Normally a roof vent or turbine vent as you describe pulls air (and thus any dust within the air) out of a roof cavity or attic, it doesn't send it backwards into the occupied space. Maybe a sketch or photo would help us understand what you're seeing.
I work for thomas brothers office furnishings. the building was built in 1883, so its has many issues. What concerns me is the forced air system. when it cycles, i and others have coughing fits. Recently my boss who has shared the same air as me for for the last 10 years now has a lung condition. He will either die from it or he will have to have a lung transplant. so of course now I'm worried. he's always said it was just dust. I've ask to be moved to another area of the building, but he said i d have to do it on my own time, that's ok with me but he won t move the phone or internet. So i really couldn't work there.
I would like to have this checked out. in a way that wouldn't cost me my job. I think the insulation in the duct work is breaking down and blowing out small flakes that we are breathing. Also i ask to wear a dust mask. My boss really got mad and would not let me wear it. Also i ve told him of my concerns he just thinks i m causing trouble. Also he is selling the building he s had it for 25 years. i can send a sample of the stuff in the duct work. what can i or should i do - Mike 1/23/12
Some of your questions such as wearing a respirator and possible unsafe or unhealthy conditions in the workplace are topics that would better be addressed by an OSHA representative, a union rep, or an attorney with appropriate expertise. From the nature of your question it sounds to me as if you should pursue those sources of help.
Dust of a variety of compositions can be a respiratory irritant at sufficient levels and of course some dust may contain more harmful or dangerous particles. T
o accurately assess the health of the workplace would require inspection and testing by a qualified expert. But sometimes even an amateur dust sample, such as a tape sample of settled dust collected from a recently-cleaned surface in the work area can give credible evidence of a possible or even probable problem.
Such tests as a rough, inexpert screening procedure are nto something I recommend as a normal thing to do - lest we waste people's time and money, but if you have reason to be particularly worried about your environment that might be a low-key and low-cost place to start.
I live in an apartment. Recently I found exposed yellow fiberglass insulation in my A/C closet. For about 1 1/2 months I have been uncomfortable. Itching, burning skin and finding particals embedded in my skin an bleeding and sores on my skin. I've had to soak in epson salts and hydrogen peroxide to calm my skin. I'm concerned about this apt being a safe and healthy environment. Should I just move, or is there a remedy to make this environment livable? - Carolyn 9/22/12
Presuming you're talking about a LOT of exposed fiberglass insulation are that your clothes were actually contacting, (a few inches of exposed insulation is not likely to explain your complaints) then the clothes can be laundered or drycleaned.
IN addition to cleaning clothing that may have gotten fiberglass insulation dust on it, it would make sense to cover exposed insulation - usually a closet is finished in drywall; temporarily you could even have someone staple up housewrap or plastic.
The steps you take to calm your skin might not in the long run be helping - that complaint and its solution are something to discuss with your doctor or with a referral to a dermatologist. You might also ask your doctor to evaluate whether or not you're suffering from Morgellon's disease.
In 1964 I worked in a rock-wool insulation manufacturing plant, it was common knowledge amongst the workers then that the product was highly dangerous e.g lung cancer, stomach cancers and major chest disease, 50 years late all my fears have come true, proven in part by the fact a large majority of my old workmates are now dead long, and you can guess the cause.
FIBREGLASS has been laid in multi-millions of roofs, and you can state without any exaggeration that domestic lofts and attics are the next multi-billion dollar clean-up-zone, or cover it up clean up zone. The US Govet said it was carcinogenic, and how right they are. E.W., Leeds, England 14 September 2013, Insulation background including sales.
Thank you for sharing your view - I agree in part - that there can be fiberglass hazards in air, but not completely with your statement; it seems to me that there are many situations in which the fiberglass is undamaged and presents chiefly large particles that studies have shown are much less hazardous than asbestos.
What I have found in my own lab and field research is that there may be small particles even in the 1-micron range that at high levels in air may indeed be a health hazard; it appears to me that many researchers and labs simply don't use methods that will accurately detect much less report such particles - special measures are needed to find them; in other words, you don't see what you're not looking for.
I've published some notes on this matter at
FIBERGLASS DETECTION in BUILDING AIR & DUST - about finding small particles
and would welcome any further comment you might offer.
I have been in thousands of English lofts with tile roofs, these places were always dusty because about 50% of English homes still do not have a roofing felt under the tiles. Before 1955 the builders cemented the tile joints with a dab of cement to close them k.as 'sarking' , after 30 years this cement fell away from the tiles leaving the loft or attic space open to the weather especially the wind, blown snow and blown rain, and birds.
The worst hazard for fibreglass layers was caused by the lack of a house under-tile roofing felt which allowed smoke DUST k/as 'soot' to enter the loft from adjoining homes British coal fires, this was a black/grey soot / dust which 'smelled' and was laid everywhere in the roof space to an average depth of 1/2 inch, caused because during the UK house building period 1800 - 1955 no roofing felt was fitted.
From 1960 onwards just 1 inch of fibreglass insulation was laid between the joists, Rockwool was laid also but had less than 8% share of the market, Pilkington Brothers Fibreglass dominated the market, most English roofs have been insulated twice, because the Government brought out a free insulation scheme in 1966, called the top-up-scheme, by laying it again on top of the existing insulation, which was walked on, re-handled, moved and collapsed into glass fibre dust, if the roof had a roofing felt this soot and dust was contained inside the loft space, but if no roofing felt was fitted this dust was picked up by the wind inside the loft, and blown around the loft, and outside under the tile gaps - to drift everywhere, (we are talking about UK 20 million homes here)
In areas in England were they use a red tile called a 'Pantile', you can often see small birds flying under the tiles to get inside the loft or roof space without slowing down, and when you are inside the loft you can often look down onto the street below and watch whats happening there, whats strange is these property owners insist their roof is sound, and very few know the tiles contain quite sizable gaps, and the heat loss is substantial.
A QUESTION I have often asked myself is 'Does Roof Insulation work? I say it does not, that it's density is minimal, and if held up to the light you can see it cannot do much good. It's a myth. Heat rises through loft insulation and continues on it's way outside the home, and retaining it is an impossible job. If insulation retains heat then why doe sit always feel cold inside a loft space, and if you lift the insulation and place your hand on the ceiling below it feel no different to ant other wall or ceiling in the house, the ceiling is cold and not warm?
It sounds as if there were other air quality hazards in the spaces you described - coal dust, other dust, and where a roof leaked, perhaps mould contamination as well. Combining the long history you describe, dating back more than fifty years, and the age of the population involved, and the combination of particles to which you and co-workers were exposed, it would be a bit of a stretch to presume that the health hazards sufferd by some were due to fiberglass, particularly as
(Sept 20, 2014) Mary Christian said:
There is fiber glass and panel in my daughter room which she share with her baby now I have made several
complaints about this throughout the years and nothing has been done yet. I've even called the housing inspectors
We are also suffering from mold and debris I'm waiting for the department of health to come but how long will that take my families health are in danger I have already developed sleep apnea and I'm so scared
please contact me at email@example.com
I'm asking for all the help I can get
Mary, at the top of this page near the right side of the blue area, click on EXPERTS DIRECTORY to find the help you need.
Watch out: your fear may be understandable emotionally but may not at all be justified, and it's entirely likely that the level of airborne fibers of any size that can be traced to an intact fiberglass panel is below the limits of detection. Don't let focus on this item that has scared you lead you to miss more immediate and more likely hazards such as failure to properly install smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, handrails on stairs, and the failure to buckle your seatbelt.
It may make the most sense to ask your health department or building inspector for a general inspection for obvious health and safety hazards in the home.
(Dec 22, 2014) Dj said:
Fiberglass dust got in my house through a couple of hole in the kitchen that got upset after stuffing newspaper in the wall to keep out any unwanted pest. Now it seem to be everywhere in the house and on everything. My is wife is really mad. How can I fix this? I have been looking for some company to clean it out but can't find one other than a maid service. And they don't work with fiberglass. help
If there is actual visible fiberglass or other insulation dust in the home,
Find and fix the fiberglass source;
HEPA Vacuum, damp wipe, dust all surfaces.
suze dunbar said:
is it possible to get lung cancer from inhaling fiberglass particles during a hvac related house fire where black smoke came thru indoor vents this happen to my mom and tests did show findings of glass in her lungs many health issues followed she had no cancers before the fire but had tests that showed cancer forming about a year or so later please give me any info helpful in showing how this happens from smoke inhalation of this type thank you 301 290 1745 email firstname.lastname@example.org
No, ande maybe.
Particulate hazards (if we ignore for a moment the toxic chemicals and carcinogens typically released during a building fire) depend on quite a few variables including individual health and genetics, exposure level, exposure duration, and particle size. Some fiberglass hazard studies, particularly focusing on larger fiberglass particle sizes don't support a carcinogenicity claim but in my own field and lab work I sometimes (depending on still another set of site-specific variables such as mechanical damage) find very small glass fragments from damaged fiberglass.
(Mar 20, 2015) Leo said:
I have a rather strange case and am unsure what I should do. There was an earthquake almost a year ago. After the incident I helped clean up at my work and when I went home I had shiny strands and particles on my clothes. I've cleaned these clothes and all other clothes many many times. The other night however I noticed all my clothes had shiny fibers on them. They could only be seen when light made them shine. I then inspected my room and found it covered every surface in varying degree. I don't work with fiber glass but could I still be bringing things home from my work? On another note its mainly just in my room and we recently ran the vent. I'm uncertain what I should do. I don't seem to be getting irritated skin despite wearing the clothes
The only other thing I can think of is perhaps I'm bring home Styrofoam fibers since I open many packaged boxes. Since I'm living in these conditions I'm uncertain what I should do. I cant seem to get it out of my clothes I obviously will clean surfaces even though I don't have a hepa vacum but this all worries me for health reasons.
Leo from just an e-text I can't say what you're seeing on your clothing. Look for fiber sources where you are spending time
(Mar 21, 2015) leo said:
I believe I've found the culprit and its my mattress. I have a memory foam mattress with some kind of fabric all around it. I look cover and saw the fibers all over it. Then I look in though the hold and the fibers were everywhere. The top of the mattress were I look was covered and had been for a long time. However the entire mattress was not covered so I suspect that every time I laid on it or put my clothes on it some of these fibers went into the air and over time have been covering the surfaces of my room. This would explain why it was almost exclusively in my room. under my bed has these fibers as well. So I think my solution is to cover it and clean up. or get a new bed. Thank-you for listening and for your help. Obviously I can't be 100% sure but I'm pretty sure.
(June 2, 2015) AJ said:
after hurricane sandi, the cover on my attic fan was ripped off and leaking onto the pink fiberglass batts went on for awhile inknown to me since No one was using that room. The batts grew black mold and were removed. After that, significant and ongoing heavy dust in my house with a pink tinge has been a problem. It seems to be connected with running the forced air heat. I HVAC dust like a maniac and run the HVAC air cleaners. This past winter I used only space heaters (brrrr, especially since I have never reinstalled insulation as the mold smell continues). I got rid of most of the pink dust but it seems to be making a comeback with the air conditioning. Pets and I are all unwell. Suggestions?
AJ you might want a forensic lab to look at your dust, identify the dominant particles, and from that you may have a clue about where your dust originates. If you removed all exposed insulation and HEPA vacuumed and cleaned the building I'd figure either the dust is not predominantly fiberglass fragments or you've missed a reservoir of damaged insulation that is also in the building air movement path.
(July 12, 2015) AJ said:
Thank you, DanJoeFriedman! Just a week or so after I posted, I noticed new stains forming on my bedroom ceiling in the same location as before, The roof repairman told me the shingles were installed the wrong way and the roof has been leaking since it was installed (fall of 2011).
The pink dust is still in the air. I will get in the mold remediators and have the dust tested. I don't believe they HEPA vacuumed in the attic when they took the batts out, and the vents circulate through there so something may have sucked into the vents as well.
I have had significant symptoms, and my son, too when he visits. Ringing ears, blurry vision, aching joints, and Inhave had severe depression, memory problems, weight loss (30 pounds) and weakness, even tremors. Could this be from breathing fiberglass dust or mold?
That question must be posed to your doctor first.
(July 19, 2015) CP said:
Just like Leo, I found shiny fibers in my clothing that made me itch after washing my pants with the outer velour mattress cover on my Spa Sensations Memory Foam mattress that I purchased from WalMart.com. I thought the source was simply the cover until I moved the mattress to do some painting and saw all of the feathery strands under, on, and around the mattress and realized it was the mattress pad cover closest to the mattress was the culprit as it was coming apart in feathery strands.
I had seen feather strands here and there when cleaning but assumed they were from a feather pillow that had a small hole so I threw it away and was puzzled to keep seeing feathers. Bur when I moved the mattress it became clear what where the feathery strands were coming from. I found a site online when googling information about the bed that listed the composition of the mattress and one of the components was "glass fiber" mattress cover. I wish I had known because I would not have bought this mattress or would have removed this glass fiber cover so that my child and home would not have been exposed to fiberglass dust and particles.
I am now looking for a safer alternative and have found wool mattresses, silk mattresses, latex, and buckwheat husk filled mattresses. I wonder if there is something else Leo and I can do as the mattress should have been safer. Has anyone else had the problem with Spa Sensations Memory Foam Mattress? I would like a refund from the company for putting my family's health at risk.
It sounds as if it would be valuable to identify as fully as possible the mattress you are discussing (use our page bottom CONTACT link to send us photos of the item, the cover, and any labels on the product). We'd want to know where the product is made, what materials its label says it contains and then perhaps to examine it for its actual contents.
If we were able to rule out an external contaminant and to be confident that the product as sold is contaminated with undesirable and un-listed materials you might be in a reasonable position to ask for a refund.
(Sept 28, 2015) BradM said:
Leo and CP,
I recently acquired a spa sensations matress and immediately started noticing the shiny fibers all over my room. However the from what I can tell The company is aware of the fiberglass socking around the memory foam is present to pass the fire retardant tests necessary for all mattresses in the US. However I wonder how bad breathing these fibers into your lungs and throat is? I intend to get a refund for the mattress however I'm afraid to move it now. Shining a flashlight under my bed reveals thousands of the shiny fibers all of the floor this can't be good for your health I don't see how this is legal.
(Nov 20, 2015) Jack said:
My Aunt works with Fiberglass building canoes and her vehicles, clothes, and a lot of her house has these shiny glass-like fibers. Some large, some very small. Every time she visits me, I find these fibers on my furniture etc. How dangerous is this? Should I be concerned? Thanks
Large fibers may cause skin irritation but are not easily breathed deeply into the lung. I believe that the fiberglass studies that found no hazard were perhaps focused on such large particles.
Very small fragments, breathed in quantity, might be harmful. An objective quantitative measure of risk is not something we could guess.
In the article above we include standards and research about boatbuilding hazards associated with both fiberglass and styrene including Yacht-makers' lung disease.
(Dec 13, 2015) mark said:
I have exposed fiber glass insulation hanging from my ceiling at work app. 500 square feet can see it in the air
Please see the OSHA and Canadian discussion in the article above.
2016/02/12 TMC said:
I to have come to realize that this Walmart mattress has been the cause to all the fiberglass in my room as a contractor I I could tell it was fiberglass the day I saw drifting in the sunlight I've been plagued for 3 months of terrible itching trying to figure out what it was and how I kept bring it home. I've been to the dr. Tried cream for mites. I washed my bedding and clean and vacuum my room everyday then realized that I wasn't getting anywhere it was only getting worse. Lo and behold 100% without a doubt it is coming from the Walmart memory foam mattress! I think Walmart needs to recall these for health and safety issues.
TMC it would be unusual to find a mattress filled with fiberglass. I'm not sure you can recognize those fibers simply by looking at dust in sunlight as fabric fibers will appear there too. Search InspectApedia for MORGELLONS SYNDROME for more information about your complaint.
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