Monday, March 9, 2009

How can Fiberglass Affect My health?

How can fiberglass affect my health?

The Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health has created a very useful website at

As per the site - Health effects from exposure to fiberglass can be different depending on the fiber size and type of exposure. Larger fibers have been found to cause skin, eye and upper respiratory tract irritation. There are other possible health effects:

  • A rash can appear when the fibers become embedded in the outer layer of the skin. No long-term health effects should occur from touching fiberglass.
  • Eyes may become red and irritated after exposure to fiberglass.
  • Soreness in the nose and throat can result when fibers are inhaled. Asthma and bronchitis can be aggravated by exposure to fiberglass.
  • Temporary stomach irritation may occur if fibers are swallowed.

Little information is known about the health effects caused by small fibers. Smaller fibers have the ability to reach the lower part of the lungs increasing the chance of adverse health effects.

People who work with fiberglass or who have worn-out duct work lined with fiberglass in their homes or workplace may have long-term exposure to fiberglass. There is no evidence that fiberglass causes cancer in people. Animal studies have shown an increased risk of cancer when fiberglass fibers were implanted in the lung tissue of rats, but these studies are controversial because of how the fibers were implanted. Based on these animal studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified some fibers used in fiberglass as possible human carcinogens (cancer causing agents).


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