Fiberglass is a common insulating material used in the construction of residential homes, commercial buildings, and schools. This material is also used in electrical insulation. Asbestos is another strong heat-resistant material used in insulation. While a link between asbestos exposure and lung cancer is established, many people wonder how fiberglass affects our health. Short-term exposure to fiberglass causes irritation and asthma sufferers may be affected more acutely. Identifying, then removing this substance improves indoor air quality. It provides a safer living and working environment.
What is Fiberglass?
As the name implies, fiberglass is made with fine glass fibers. This lightweight material insulates ceilings, walls, and ventilation ducts. While behind walls and ceilings, fiberglass does not affect our health. However, damaged building materials may cause the release of thousands of tiny fibers into the air. After release, they attach to dust particles which enter the lungs when we breathe. They also settle on hard surfaces and then go airborne again when disturbed.
How Fiberglass Affects Our Health
Fiberglass may also irritate the skin when touched. Building engineers use gloves, safety glasses, and other protective clothing when handling fiberglass. However, in the home, its presence may go undetected. Exposure may also occur when performing repairs or renovations to attics or walls and ceilings. While the coughing and sneezing triggered by inhaling these fine glass fibers may be enough to expel them, they may also go deep into the lungs. Short-term contact with fiberglass causes itching as well as irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. This triggers coughing or wheezing. Asthma suffers may experience aggravation to this exposure as well.
Long-term exposure, on the other hand, does not pose the same risk of cancer as a substance such as asbestos. That said, if you suspect exposure to fiberglass in your home or workplace, find out for sure.
Test Kits Limit Health Effects of Fiberglass
A fiberglass test kit lets home and business owners detect the presence of this material indoors. These easy-to-use screening kits identify the concentration levels of fiberglass. Use them in the home after a remodeling project or at work after a building expansion. Collect a sample with the device provided and mail it in to the lab for professional analysis. Get results in three to five days.
Additional Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality
There are several actions to take to improve the air quality indoors. Doing so limits the risk of fiberglass health effects.
Testing to Improve IAQ
If you suspect exposure to fiberglass, test to make sure. In addition to this material, other particles may affect your health at home and work. Test kits allow you to test for formaldehyde, radon, and lead. Kits for bed bugs, dust, fungi, mold, and bacteria also help keep you and your family safe.
Removal and Repairs
Once you have tested for the presence of fiberglass, mitigation is the next step in preventing the health effects of fiberglass. Repair or replace damaged walls and ceiling tiles. Cover exposed insulation in attics and crawl spaces. Another effective way to improve indoor air quality is with portable air purifiers. Chose a model with a True HEPA filter and carbon filtration.
Air Cleaning Technology
Purifiers are available for the home and work and clean the air in living rooms, bedrooms, conference rooms, and classrooms. For example, AeraMax Professional air purifiers are used in the healthcare and assisted living industries. These devices capture airborne contaminants, bacteria, and viruses as small as 0.3 microns. A device using EnviroSmart technology adjusts operation according to room size and other factors. A more efficient machine means lower energy bills. The AeraMax Professional II series provides three to five air changes per hour in rooms between 150 and 250 square feet. Conversely, the AeraMax Professional IV cleans the air in rooms up to 1,100 square feet.
For the home, a device such as the Aeramax 290 Air Purifier uses a 4-stage filtration system to remove up to 99.9 percent of particulates as tiny as 0.1 microns. Use them in rooms up to 600 square feet to remove odors as well as volatile organic compounds.
Sometimes fiberglass particles move through the HVAC systems of commercial buildings. Fiberglass, as well as other particles including viruses, then spread throughout the building. An HVAC assessment performed by qualified HVAC specialists pinpoints the problem. Maintenance and repair follow.
Eliminate the Negative Health Effects of Fiberglass Today
Don’t let airborne particles make you sick. Order a fiberglass test kit today and limit the risk. Additionally, portable air cleaning devices work to remove particles before they affect your health. To learn more about air purifiers and test kits, give us a call at 727-572-4550.