HEALTH & SAFETY
Some parties may have deliberately created misconception over the health and safety aspects of using mineral wool insulation. FMM-MIMG considers it essential to keep mineral wool insulation users informed about the truth on these health aspects.
EXPOSURE TO FIBRES
Mineral wool insulation does not use raw materials nor contain substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMR substances) or ’Very High Concern’ or ozone-depleting substances. It has been reviewed and verified by the following organization to be safe for humans and does not pose any health risks.
– World Health Organization (WHO)
– International Labour Organisation (ILO)
– International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
– International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS)
In October 2001 a panel of international scientific experts reviewed the earlier 1987 IARC Monograph and classification in the light of more recent scientific evidence and understanding of the health effects of various man-made mineral fibres. They concluded that the classification of glass mineral wool fibres should be reduced from Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic) to Group 3 (not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans), thus updating IARC’s earlier precautionary classification, which arose as a consequence of insufficient evidence being available at the time of issue.
(See IARC Monograph Vol 81 2002)
Reports by expert panels are available upon requests.
IRRITANCY OR “ITCHING”
Some people experience temporary discomfort (or itching) when handling mineral wool. This itching is a mechanical reaction to coarse fibres and generally abates shortly after exposure has ceased. Irritation of the upper respiratory tract or the eyes, similar to that caused by accidental ingress of many other forms of dust or foreign bodies, may also be experienced by some. Effects of these mechanical irritants are totally different to that of “chemical” irritants.
Those who experience discomfort with existing skin problems, should wear gloves or other suitable protection. Loose fitting clothing should be worn, avoiding constrictions at wrist and neck. If working with products above head height, eye protection goggles should be worn.
The results of intensive studies into human exposure, both in manufacturing and in the user industry, show no link between exposure to mineral wool fibres and any increased risk of respiratory disease (e.g. bronchitis). There is no medical evidence at all that mineral wools cause asthma. Although mineral wool does not cause respiratory disease, it is generally accepted that any form of dust can exacerbate an existing condition.