Fiberglass insulation has been around for decades. It has been installed in a majority of the attics in American homes, mainly because of the easy availability and affordable prices. Fiberglass is a man-made fiber produced using small glass particles that are extruded into thin strands and generally used for insulation purposes. Despite its widespread application, fiberglass has been declared as hazardous to health when it is ingested for a long period of time.
What happens to fiberglass insulation when it sits in your attic and is exposed to heat, cold, dryness, and humidity? It starts to break down over time and turns into particles just like dust. Due to the air movement, it spreads and settles in your attic and the wall spaces. When you turn on your HVAC system, it creates a negative pressure which pushes air in the attic into the buoyant indoor air via several points of entry. This airflow carries particles of fiberglass, which you end up breathing in which has adverse side effects on your health.
Here are several reasons why fiberglass insulation is a poor insulation material for your home:
Fiberglass insulation is also known as glass wool. It comprises of recycled glass and sand particles that are heated and spun to transform them into very thin fibers. The finished product has very small individual fibers that can embed in your skin when they are present in the environment. This can result in serious skin irritation that can cause itching.
Your lungs are a very delicate organ. When you breathe in foreign, unhealthy elements through the air, your lungs are likely to get damaged. Similarly, if you breathe in fiberglass particles, they can easily make way into your lungs, causing different types of breathing problems. Even if you wear breathing equipment and proper masks, you can develop a cough and irritation if you are exposed to an environment with fiberglass for too long. OSHA requires manufacturers to place a cancer warning on all fiberglass materials.
Another reason why fiberglass is not a good material for insulation is that it is not completely fireproof. Because of its composition, it smolders before it actually starts burning, so it can give homeowners some time to escape the premises. However, it is likely to cause a lot of damage to your home. Moreover, when fiberglass smolders, it releases a gas that is quite harmful to your heart and lungs, as it can result in different types of irritations. This is because fiberglass is treated with formaldehyde, which is known to be a highly toxic chemical to a person.
If you are going to install fiberglass insulation in your home, make sure it stays dry. If it absorbs moisture, it will cause the material to deteriorate over time and lose its effectiveness. Not only will this affect its integrity, but also promote mold formation and other fungi.
A Good Alternative – Cellulose
Cellulose is manufactured from recycled newspapers. The newspapers undergo a chemical process (adding boric acid) that makes them less of a fire retardant. Cellulose is 50% more fire retardant than fiberglass. Not only does cellulose pose fewer health hazards than fiberglass, but it’s also inexpensive. The boric acid also acts as a pest inhibitor.
It is recommended that you talk to an expert insulation company like NEEECO to get professional advice regarding the right type of insulation for your home that is safe for you and your family. Contact us today to discuss your needs with our team.