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How to Identify Asbestos in Fibreglass Insulation

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Does Fibreglass Insulation Contain Asbestos?

It is extremely rare to find asbestos related material within fibreglass insulation. This is especially true in modern fibreglass material where the answer would be definitely not. You will not find asbestos in any batt-form of fibreglass insulation. This wool-type material is a glass fibre product, so it doesn’t normally contain asbestos. This is an artificial, man-made product whereas asbestos is a natural product found in rocks. Tiny fibres released from the man-made wool may irritate your skin and eyes, but it is not the same as asbestos. There are some cases where mineral wool, asbestos and resins may have been mixed together for a specific industrial insulating purpose; but this is extremely unlikely in a residential property. However, with this in mind, it is still important to know how to identify asbestos in fibreglass insulation.

The Dangers of Asbestos In Fibreglass

Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance that has now been banned from the building trade and from use within all modern properties. Asbestos exposure is responsible for around 5000 deaths each year and still represents a major building hazard to this day. This is because lots of properties built before the year 200 still contain asbestos related materials somewhere in their construction.

When asbestos related materials become disturbed or damaged, the material’s deadly fibres are released into the air. If inhaled by a person they can cause several serious diseases that may not take effect immediately, but may develop over time. Once diagnosed with a disease like asbestosis, it is often too late to do anything about it.

The major health problem caused by asbestos exposure include:

  • Cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Fibrosis in the lungs
  • Mesothelioma

Asbestos Can Cause Mesothelioma

A disease like mesothelioma can be extremely deadly, as there is no cure and it is very aggressive, sometimes taking anywhere from 20-45 years to show full symptoms. It can be as simple as to get an asbestos test every few years or get asbestos removed completely to prevent your family from mesothelioma and asbestosis. At the very least, be knowledgable about where any possible asbestos is in your home and the condition it is in.”

How to Identify Asbestos in Fibreglass Insulation

Nevertheless, asbestos can sometimes be found in loose-fill attic and wall insulation. You’ll not find it in batt-form but you may find it in loose-fill form, where insulation is poured loosely onto joist or wall stud cavities. But how do you identify it? How to identify asbestos in fibreglass insulation isn’t exactly easy. There are no tell-tale signs as such. Your loose-fill insulation may contain asbestos if:

  • Your house was built before the year 2000
  • Insulation particles have a grey-brown or silver-gold colour
  • Insulation particles have an accordion-like texture and shape
  • If the insulation lays flat rather than fluffed-up
 
asbestos in fibreglass insulation
 

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Vermiculite Insulation

This type of insulation is dangerous in most cases. If your insulation bears this name or fits the description above then it is probably best you limit the amount of time you are exposed to it. Do not let any of your family members near it and call in a professional team of removal specialist to deal with the problem. Vermiculite looks very similar to popcorn or and is usually brownish/greyish in colour, with some metallic colours mixed in. Always let a professional remove your asbestos attic insulation!

Can Fibreglass Insulation Be Dangerous?

If you experience too much contact with fibreglass then it can cause irritant contact dermatitis –  which is a fancy name for a simple inflammation of the skin. It is nowhere near as dangerous as asbestos but irritating nonetheless. Breathing in the fibres is also ill-advised as this can cause breathing difficulties.

The question of how to identify asbestos in fibreglass insulation, and then deal with it, should be left to professionals. Both asbestos and fibreglass can have damaging effects to your health and well-being. They can both affect your lungs and skin if left exposed for too long. The safest way of dealing with each material is to not do so. Leave it to a professional instead! This applies to identification and removal.

Please refer to Asbestos Advice set out by local councils to learn how to remove and dispose of your existing fiberglass insulation that’s been contaminated with asbestos.

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