Fiberglass- Health Risk? Wenatchee and Chelan Home Inspections

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Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC
http://actvra.in/cfk

Fiberglass- Health Risk?   Wenatchee and Chelan Home Inspections

Fiberglass in Microscope

I found the article below very interesting. Just this week I had a discussion with another Home Inspector and an Asbestos Abatement company about fiberglass. My opinion was that I could see that we will be writing in our Inspection Reports "Home Built Before (insert date) may contain fiberglass" then my recommendation.

Well just today I came across this article from the National Toxicology Program, Department of Health and Human Services

Excerpt from article-

Certain glass wool fibers (inhalable) are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens based on (1) sufficient evidence of carcinoge­nicity from studies in experimental animals of inhalable glass wool fibers as a class (defined below) and (2) evidence from studies of fi­ber properties which indicates that only certain fibers within this class - specifically, fibers that are biopersistent in the lung or tracheo­bronchial region - are reasonably anticipated to be human carcino­gens.

Read full Article- (Link)

ABC article on other carcinogens (link)

As a former HazMat responder I have felt for a long time, that it was only time before this will be listed. When performing Home Inspections I always wear a respirator when entering area that I suspect to have Fiberglass and other materials that may be harmful to my lungs.

Now this is a preliminary study and they do not have enough evidence in humans but the animal modeling seems to indicate that there is a risk.

I would recommend to anyone in our industry to wear respirators as needed.

 

Fiberglass- Health Risk?   Wenatchee and Chelan Home Inspections

 

NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Orville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more...  

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Chris Smith 06/11/2011 10:27 AM
  2. Dan Edward Phillips 06/13/2011 09:00 AM
  3. Dan Edward Phillips 09/05/2011 11:32 AM
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Rainer
87,871
Paul Lesieur
203kloanmn - North Oaks, MN

I was waiting for this "new hazard" to pop up, it was only a matter of time.

Jun 11, 2011 09:26 AM #1
Rainmaker
372,284
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Paul,

I agree with you. It's funny because cellulose is a better insulator anyway and does not have the same issues. I really have never like fiberglass that much.

Jun 11, 2011 09:37 AM #2
Rainer
170,152
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Unlike a great many other things that are known or suspected to cause cancer, our bodies have the ability to breakdown and remove (i.e. eliminate) the fiberglass. Given that fact I suspect that the actual carcinogen will prove to be something that enters the body through the thousand miniature cuts on your skin and in your lungs.

It's those cuts that cause the 'itch' and make us 'cough' and feel miserable. But it's all gone in a day or two. We heal.

I suspect we are being premature in blaming 'fiberglass'. There's a natural tendency to because we don't care for the discomfort.

Jun 11, 2011 10:01 AM #3
Rainmaker
572,223
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Donald, I have always known to where a breathing mask/filter when working with fiberglass as the fibres are so minute and thin that they can perforate our skin and lungs (if we breathe them in), but I never knew they were a carcinogen.

Jun 11, 2011 10:25 AM #4
Rainmaker
372,284
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Robert,

I think I may have to politely disagree with you on this one. If you just took the scarring mechanism alone that I would assume that goes along with this I would have to say there is a risk. Below is another excerpt and they describe route of exposure by inhalation. Prior studies were performed by implantation but this study used other mechanisms.

I do have a note out to one of my very best friends who happens to be a leading immunologist in the dendritic cells and has a very good grasp of immunological response mechanisms. I have had similar conversation with him on Asbestos.

I not trying to be an alarmist but I have suspected that Fiberglass would get listed.

Excerpt-

Glass wool fibers caused tumors in two rodent species, at several different tissue sites, and by several different routes of exposure. Individual types of glass wool fibers were studied in chronic carcinogenicity bioassays in rats and/or hamsters exposed by a number of routes, including inhalation, intratracheal instillation of fiber suspensions, surgical intrathoracic implantation, and direct exposure to the pleural or peritoneal cavity by injection.

Jun 11, 2011 10:30 AM #5
Rainmaker
372,284
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Chris,

My assumption has alway been that if a sustance is a known irritant that repeated exposure usually leads to other conditions.

When I performed work with hazardous material response you always asses risk by exposure level and duration.

Here is a OSHA qualification to occupational exposure-

Occupational exposure levels are set to protect workers from the short- and long-term harmful health effects that may be associated with chemical (e.g., vapors, particulates, fibers) and physical agents (e.g., heat, noise, vibration). Exposure limits may be expressed as 8-hour time-weighted averages, or may be expressed for shorter exposures, such as ceiling levels or 15-minute short-term exposure levels.

Jun 11, 2011 10:41 AM #6
Ambassador
1,095,825
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Don, me thinks they haven't started encapsulating the crap for no reason :)

Jun 11, 2011 11:36 AM #7
Rainmaker
372,284
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Charlie,

No doubt. I think we will be writing it up in the future. Maybe I will start seeing cellulose used more in the future over here. It is almost non-existent.

Jun 11, 2011 11:52 AM #8
Rainmaker
636,834
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

This is in no way a surprise to me. I believe the manufacturers know and have known of the risks of their product for a very long time. Just like the manufacturers of other products now commonly known as health risks.

Jun 11, 2011 04:21 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,183,030
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

You know, I have not been wearing a respirator but I have been thinking more about that and I think I will start. I heard this years back, then they kind of quite talking about it.

Jun 11, 2011 08:12 PM #10
Rainmaker
372,284
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jim,

It is a sad fact that industry will suppress possible issues because it is harmful to their industry. It also is a common practice to disseminate confusing and weak counter arguments to cast doubt. 

Steve,

I would always wear one. I carry two respirators to every job and never enter the crawl or attic without one. I figured I have done enough damage to my lungs over the years from the early days of hazardous response work. This is before we went to always being on air. We made a decision a few years in that is was not worth the risk to not be on air.

Jun 11, 2011 08:31 PM #11
Rainmaker
494,200
C. Lloyd McKenzie
Prudential Allstar Realtors - Albuquerque, NM
MBA - Prudential Allstar Realtors -

This is interesting information.  It weems there are more hazards around than we realize

Very good information

Jun 12, 2011 11:02 PM #12
Rainmaker
372,284
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Lloyd,

Thank you. There are many risks. But it is based on how much exposure we have to that risk. Fiberglass is all around us in our homes.  So we have an increased risk from it. I use respiratory protection when I am in the attics and crawlspaces because I know I will have repeated exposure there.

We all take risks in our everyday life. So it's just which ones you want to take.

Jun 12, 2011 11:16 PM #13
Rainmaker
588,326
Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips - Eureka, CA
Realtor and Broker/Owner

Good Morning Donald, an excellent warning for home owners.  Both good ventilation and a good respirator are or should be required.

Jun 13, 2011 08:58 AM #14
Rainmaker
372,284
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Dan,

Thank you. I always wear respiratory protection but that is a habit I developed a long time ago.

The worst thing about all this is that fiberglass is not the better product as an insulator. It just the most widely used.

Jun 13, 2011 09:07 AM #15
Anonymous
Anonymous
NateGodd

Uh, guys the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) changed its classification of fibreglass in November 2001:

 

  • Fibreglass is now not classifiable as carcinogenic to humans and is no longer considered “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

 

The reasons for the change are:

 

  • Studies of occupational exposure during manufacture of fiberglass show no evidence of increased risk of cancer; and
  • There is an increased use of “biosoluble” fiberglass, which has been tested and found to be non-carcinogenic.

From here: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol81/index.php

 

Nov 24, 2011 11:03 PM #16
Rainmaker
372,284
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Nate,

This is the latest study from 2011. So what you have stated may not be the latest information. Many in the world of immunology suspected this already.

 

Dec 04, 2011 01:08 AM #17
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Rainmaker
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