Fiberglass is part of a group of synthetic vitreous fibers (SVF) made of inorganic materials that contain aluminum or calcium silicates, oxides and metals, manufactured from rock wool, slag wool, clay, or glass. Fiberglass is used for a variety of purposes. The most common uses of fiberglass include thermal and sound insulation, and reinforcing materials. It is estimated that there are more than 30,000 commercial uses for fiberglass and it is a major product for the United States economy.
Occupational exposure to fiberglass occurs in the production, installation, maintenance and repair, and demolition of fiberglass materials.
Exposure to fiberglass can result from direct contact with fiberglass materials and fiberglass dust. Such contact causes irritation to the eyes, skin, upper respiratory tract, and the lungs, resulting in eye irritation, skin rash, nasal congestion, sore throat, and coughing. Irritation of the respiratory tract from fiberglass has been detected in work environments with airborne concentrations of less than 1 fiber per cubic centimeter (cc). In addition to fiberglass exposure, workers may be exposed to chemicals that are associated in the manufacturing of fiberglass products. These chemicals include:
The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for Glass (Fibrous) is 1 fiber/cc. This Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) is enforceable by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health under the California Department of Industrial Relations, Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 5155 Airborne Contaminants.
Prevention and protection measures should include the following:
The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.