American households are no stranger to pink fiberglass insulation. Many homes have thick rolls of the material in their attic. In fact, at some point, it was the most popular choice for insulation.
Made from extremely fine woven glass, fiberglass traps air to slow down the spread of heat or cold in a structure. It poses minimal fire hazard and, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, its thermal insulation may reduce residential energy costs by up to 40%. As such, it is a frequently used material for residential property insulation.
Pink fiberglass insulation effectively keeps homes warm in the winter and cool during the summer. But it does not come without a price. The material could trigger asthma, bronchitis, and eye irritation. Moreover, it could cause itchiness and skin irritation.
Get Familiar with the Risks of Fiberglass Insulation
Pink fiberglass insulation, consisting of extremely fine glass fibers, comes in different forms. Most commonly, it comes in the form of blankets and loose fill.
The former, which may either be fiberglass batts or rolls, are attachable to walls for stability. The latter, which may contain 20% to 30% recycled glass content, are applicable to both open-blow applications (i.e. attic paces) and closed-cavity applications (i.e. wall interiors and floor cavities).
The material may also come in the form of rigid boards and duct insulation. But regardless of which type is most suitable for your application — and how functional it is — fiberglass insulation comes with certain health risks.
Fiberglass insulation, when disturbed, has the tendency to release small particles or fibers in the air. The people exposed to it may inhale the material’s particles during installation or removal, resulting in respiratory complications. Their skin may also come in contact with the particles, resulting in itchiness and irritation.
No matter how long you’ve been using pink fiberglass insulation, you still need to be careful when handling them. Inhaling fiberglass particles may trigger reactions from your respiratory system. It may lead to nose bleeds and severe coughing. It may aggravate asthma or bronchitis, too, if you are prone to either condition.
Much like wood and metal, it does not easily break down. As such, inhaling fiberglass particles may cause further damage to your lungs and the rest of your respiratory system.
Inhaling fiberglass particles may cause respiratory ailments, but the health risks do not stop there. Particles may break free from the material and get in your eye. This causes immediate effects such as eye irritation and inflammation.
Much like when other foreign particles get in your eye, fiberglass particles may cause severe or permanent eye damage, when not addressed correctly and immediately.
The most common health risk of fiberglass insulation is skin irritation. This occurs when your skin gets in contact with fiberglass particles, resulting in itchiness and skin rashes.
Particles may come in contact with your skin and trigger allergies, especially if you have sensitive skin. They may lodge into your pores and cause skin dryness. Either way, you may end up with irritated skin, itchiness, and red rashes for days to come.
Exposure to fiberglass could happen during renovation for your home or when you visit a friend whose home is under construction.
Remedies After Exposure
You’ll want to protect yourself when you expect to be around renovation or construction. Appropriate clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and gloves. This reduces the risk of itchiness and skin irritation that occurs when the skin accidentally comes in contact with fiberglass particles.
While you’re at it, wear a face mask to avoid inhaling fiberglass particles and protective goggles to prevent them from getting into your eye.
But once you’re exposed to fiberglass, you can reduce its impact through a couple of ways.
Use Baby Powder
Rub baby powder on exposed areas such as the neck and your wrists, areas where there may be gaps in protective clothing, to avoid itchiness. In case baby powder is not available, you may use corn starch or plain talc powder as a substitute.
Despite protective clothing and a sprinkle of baby powder, fiberglass particles may still linger. As such, you might want to shower twice.
First, take a cold shower to rinse off any particles. The cold keeps your pores closed, so you no longer have to worry about fiberglass seeping into your skin. Afterward, take a hot shower to open up your pores and make it easier for you to get rid of any particles that may have slipped through the previous precautionary measures.
The man-made mineral fiber is useful for residential and commercial applications. But because it is an irritant, you need to be careful around the material. And until more studies are conclusive about its health effects, it’s better to trust its installation or removal to a professional.
Go for Professional Installation
Working with a professional team will mean getting reasonable rates for the services of licensed and insured insulation contractors. It means having the insulation up and working within a convenient schedule and your required timeframe. Licensed installers not only get the job done quickly, but safely, too.
Professional installers have sufficient education and experience to know what type of insulation works best for your home. They can provide industry leading fiberglass insulation that offers ample coverage while reducing your home’s energy demand and costs. They can also ensure that the insulation will not retain moisture leading to mold or fungus growth.
A+ Insulation has the experience and knowledge to ensure a professional installation that improves your comfort and your safety.
Our trained and experienced team will handle your fiberglass installation needs, using high grade materials that do not compromise your health and budget. We not only ensure your home is energy efficient and comfortable all year round, we also keep our work neat. We cover everything with plastic to keep your home clean while we install.
We are licensed and insured, and well prepared to take on any insulation job.
Get professional advice and experience professional service that combines safety and efficiency. Call us today for your insulation needs.