ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

2pAA1. Fiberglass health and safety update: Moving beyond the science.

Rick Versen

Schuller International, Inc., P.O. Box 625005, Littleton, CO 80162

Fiberglass has provided numerous acoustical and insulation benefits for over 50 years. Today, engineers, architects, and specifiers must weigh the benefits derived from various products against the potential risks that may be involved. During the past several years significant efforts have been undertaken to evaluate the potential health hazards and risks associated with exposure to fiberglass materials to facilitate meaningful benefit/risk analyses. Large studies of workers and various animal tests have been conducted and reviewed by numerous groups and agencies. While many scientists believe that the research indicates that fiberglass is not very hazardous, if at all, to humans, others contend that it may be just as harmful as asbestos. While disagreement among scientists is nothing new, the confusion and controversy created in the minds of nontoxicologists and epidemiologists observing the debates is unfortunate. Comfort should be taken in the extensive weight of the scientific evidence that is available on this important material. Most important, we should understand the limitations of science and focus on the handling and use recommendations which can assure the safe use of fiberglass products.