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Your thoughts on exposure to fiberglass insulation during remodel?

user-4918854's picture

Hi, new member to these forums, hopefully I haven't skipped over some point of order regarding introductions.

My wife and I are in the middle of an addition and remodel of our own house. in the old part of the house, there are two rooms each with one OS wall with exposed fiberglass insulation, without kraft paper vb or plastic. In the 1000sf addition, all the OS walls have kraft-backed fiberglass insulation - no sheetrock yet. The addition ceiling has fiberglass insulation, but also has poly vb on the ceiling side.

This is a slow project - doing much of the work myself outside of my day job. The insulation has been in this state for almost 2 years. We will likely start drywall this winter, but it could be up to a year before it's all covered up.

Unfortunately, my wife has been noticing some coughing and getting out of breath easily. She has a dr appt in a few days, but in the meantime has been reading web sites and becoming convinced that breathing glass fibers is the cause.

Now, I take the fiberglass seriously, and always wear long pants and sleeves and a dust mask when working with it.  But my take on it has been that as long as we're not disturbing the insulation, the fibers aren't coming loose and floating in the air. 

What are your thoughts? Can fibers get stirred up simply from air movement from a FA heating system or open windows?

I don't want to risk our health, but my wife is freaking out a bit, and wants to completely change our project plan for the house to get the insulation covered ASAP.

Thanks for your feedback. Any references to relevant articles or web sites would be appreciated also.

Keith

Cancel your (post #213886, reply #1 of 6)

Cancel your internet....seriously you can find someone on the internet to blame anything for their health issues....if you read the internet long enough you'll end up eating cardboard and drinking himilayan spring water filtered through the dirty sock of a tibitan monk.

 

But that isn't going to satisfy your wife so your better option is just bite the bullet take out a loan and get someone to finish the thing.....its not going to be a long before she stops blaming the insulation and starts blaming you and the long and short of it is hiring someone to finish it will be a dang site cheaper than hiring a lawyer.

Fiberglass particles, when (post #213886, reply #2 of 6)

Fiberglass particles, when stirred up, do not stay airborne very long.  And fiberglass fibers are relatively innocuous in the body (though of course any sort of foreign particle in the body is not a thing to be desired).  Sawdust is far more likely to stay in the air and work its way into the lungs.  And drywall dust (especially from sanding) stays in the air to significant degree plus the dust is caustic and can cause scarring if enough of it is inhaled.

A lot of people confuse fiberglass dust with asbestos dust, which is present in old insulations (older than 50 years or so), but asbestos produces far finer particles which are far more toxic.

Also, of course, one may encounter lead dust from old paint (older than 50 years).  Lead is quite toxic.

In general, if the fiberglass is in place and either covered with a paper or plastic backing or laying horizontal in an unoccupied attic (and the building is closed up against the wind to a reasonable degree) it will not produce significant amounts of loose particles. 

You might wish, just for your wife's piece of mind, to staple up a plastic VB on the exposed fiberglass in those two rooms.  That should only take an hour or so.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Glass fibers (post #213886, reply #3 of 6)

Thanks Dan, kind of what I'm starting to settle on. In fact, she can probably staple up some plastic while I'm working on elec rough-in. Even offer to buy a portable air filter if that will make her feel better, if it will let me focus on the outside tasks while we still have some decent weather.

The other thing you can do is (post #213886, reply #4 of 6)

The other thing you can do is install a small exhaust fan in a window somewhere in the construction area, then open windows a crack in the rest of the house.  This is a good thing to do just to keep down the dust.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

User (post #213886, reply #5 of 6)

If you exhaust the room you work on, shut down the furnace and any other air sucking appliance.

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Even more so if you don't (post #213886, reply #6 of 6)

Even more so if you don't exhaust the room.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville