Glasswool and rockwool insulation are the most common insulation products used in residential and commercial buildings world-wide, because they are proven performers as thermal and acoustic insulation products at a cost effective price. These products have been thoroughly tested over many decades and are safe to install and use in your home or commercial building for the life of the building.
The safety of insulation materials is a question that is sometimes raised.
Common insulation products, such as glasswool (formerly called fiberglass), rockwool, polyester, sheepswool and cellulose (shredded paper) are fibrous in nature, as it is the mat of fibres that creates their effective insulation properties.
Cutting or blowing these fibrous materials during manufacture or installation can release small quantities of loose fibres or dust. Ceiling spaces in homes or building sites are dusty environments anyway, and responsible manufacturers or builders always recommend that installers be protected against this dust, by wearing simple protective items such as disposable face masks.
The key question is whether exposure to these dusts represents a health hazard – both during installation and in situations over the long term.
The answer is that none of the common insulation products listed above are considered hazardous.
Glasswool and rockwool insulation products have been comprehensively researched, and in 2002 the World Health Organisation concluded that after more than 30 years research, including studies on over 60,000 insulation workers, there is no long term serious risk to health from exposure to insulation fibres.
To further ensure the safety of our products, CSR Bradford changed the formulation of glasswool and rockwool insulation in 2001 to now use what are known as “bio-soluble fibres”. Insulation fibres are now less bio-persistent than the dust we breathe in every day walking down the street and are not considered to pose any risk to health. You can identify bio-soluble fibres by the FBS-1 logo on our packs. For more information please go to the Insulation Council Australia & New Zealand.
The reason why glasswool and rockwool insulation are so popular is not just because of their excellent thermal and acoustic properties, but because they are durable, performing for the lifetime of the building, and non-combustible. This is because they are made from inert, inorganic mineral fibres. But this also produces a fibre that is so strong that it can result in mild irritation to the skin during installation. This irritation is mechanical in nature only. There is no evidence of any resulting long term skin irritation once the loose fibres are washed off the skin. Glasswool and rockwool do not cause dermatitis or any other skin conditions.
Once installed and left undisturbed there is no fibre release from the products and in fact both products have been assessed by the National Asthma Council's 'Sensitive Choice' product advisory panel and found to be low allergen products suitable for asthma and allergy sufferers.
Non hazardous and no harmful VOC's
Glasswool and rockwool products also do not contain harmful VOC’s – Volatile Organic Compounds; they do not contain any harmful amounts of formaldehyde or other organic chemicals, and no Ozone depleting Products (ODP’s) are used in their manufacture.
Glasswool and rockwool insulation products are not hazardous products and are safe to install and use in your home or in other insulation applications for the life of the building.
Safe to install
Care must also be taken when installing under metal or tile roofs and these products should never be installed in the horizontal orientation on top of ceiling joists or under suspended floors. Similarly ventilation products installed on roofs must be done so with extreme care to avoid falls. For more information, visit the Edmonds website.