When installers of fiberglass insulation are installing fiberglass insulation in confined unventilated spaces they should take all precautions to alleviate the possibility of airborne particles to enter the atmosphere.
To alleviate dust generation it is best to have an experienced installer install fiberglass insulation and the professional installers should wear long sleeved overalls, gloves and a facemask at least. However, what is happening – large hardware chains are promoting the sale of fiberglass ceiling batts to the do it yourself homeowners or handyman to install with the exception of Bunnings. They are selling a product called Earth Wool which for all intents and purposes does not seem a lot different to fiberglass to me, although on giving it the squeeze test it did not seem to give off as many fibres as fiberglass insulation does. The manufacturer of Earth Wool says that you should wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, cap, gloves a suitable dust mask and to wash clothes separately when installing Earth Wool. As fiberglass insulation’s main substance is glass and Earth Wool’s main substance is recycled glass it could still have the same problem with minute airborne particles, if not why the precaution for clothing and a dusk mask.
Whilst there are accredited courses for safety and competency available for installing fiberglass insulation I have seen installers in summer in only a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, I have also seen installers throwing the bags of insulation around and breaking the bags open without consideration to airborne particles.
If fiberglass insulation is properly installed in areas where there is no possibility of entry of minute airborne particles to the home then it is safe to use, as long as it is contained.
However, in saying that strict guidelines should be adhered to so that fiberglass insulation does not become a danger to your home, yourself and your family’s health.
HOW IS FIBREGLASS INSULATION DANGEROUS
Fragments of fiberglass insulation can be found throughout almost any household in almost any area of the home – what is the known danger?
Well if you have respiratory problems these will almost certainly become exacerbated and if you don’t you may be susceptible to respiratory problems in the future. The risks for fiberglass insulation are not fully understood so play it safe. Have a reputable insulation company install your insulation whatever type it may be, make sure you have zero protusions in the ceiling (no holes whatsoever) that will allow entry of fibres from the ceiling space and to keep your ceiling space well ventilated with an effective roof ventilation system for more reasons than one.
IS FIBREGLASS INSULATION DANGEROUS, I BELIEVE IT IS
Fibreglass fibres can continue to be stirred up by rodents, possums, birds nesting etc. This continual movement will allow fibres to migrate to the home through ceiling perforations so seal that ceiling. See Blog on this site “Ceiling Vents for Exhaust”.
When I was a roofer in California in the 80’s there was talk of banning fiberglass insulation, however this never eventuated. In the late 80’s and early 90’s they had a warning placed on the packaging that fiberglass insulation may cause cancer.
In the mid 90’s these warnings were removed from the packaging some people are very concerned about the health ramifications and the jury’s still out on the fact whether fiberglass insulation is carcinogenic or not.
Play it safe and use another option that is proven safe, like natural wool etc. Seal your ceiling and install an effective roof ventilation system.