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Fiberglass inhalation


I was exposed to fiberglass as well when it fell out of the ceiling. I inhaled it and since then I have been sensitive to smoke and car fumes. I also keep feeling like something is stuck in my throat and have throat pain which increases when i speak as well as trouble breathing.  I feel the restriction in my chest when i walk, like a tightness. It get worse when it rains. I went to a pulmonologist who is now refering me to a cardiologist. I couldnt find any test that would show fiberglass. I have had MRI and CT scans as well as ultrasounds. The ultrasound showed swelling around the throat area.I had been referred for a doplar ultrasound. My throat has been teste and no pathogens found, not bacteria or virus but they didnt test for debris. I have used a lot of natural remedies and well as inhalers and other medications. I there a test that would sample the debris in my throat. .

This discussion is related to I inhaled Fiberglass Insulation -- Please Help!.
45 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello and hope you are doing well.

Fiberglass is a silicate fiber and can reduce lung function and cause inflammation. It can also cause skin, eye and throat irritation. At higher exposure levels, fiberglass also has been associated with skin rashes and difficulty in breathing. Was the lung function tests normal?

Fiberglass emits a synthetic material called styrene, which is a possible carcinogenic. Styrene and its breakdown products can be measured in your blood, urine, and body tissues. Styrene leaves your body quickly. If you are tested within one day, the actual amount of exposure can be estimated. However, it is difficult to predict the kind of health effects that might develop from that exposure.

Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
Not sure where you got this information but it is wrong! It is impossible for fiberglass to breakdown into styrene.  Fiberglass is  just that glass fibers and is inert and inorganic.  Styrene is an organic compound typically derived from petrochemicals or coal and is used to make polystyrene - (Styrofoam). It also occurs naturally in cinnamon, coffee beans and peanuts.  Inorganic compounds cannot breakdown or create organic compounds.
Read carefully, no one said fiberglass breaks down into styrene. Styrene is a common polymer agent used in the production of fiberglass and that additive, as the DNB noted, does breakdown and is hazardous when inhaled.
Avatar universal
Thank you for that information. The breathing test did show reduced lung funtion. I would like to know of case studies or real life cases of how people treated this condition and how living with it long term affected their lives.
Avatar universal
Hello and hope you are doing well.

To begin with it is mostly prevention. Always wear a dust mask in areas where exposure is likely, to help avoid inhaling glass fibers. The damage which has already been done will be there. Treatment is usually symptomatic. Antibiotics for infections and bronchodilators for bronchospasm. And of course avoidance of smoking to prevent further damage to the lungs. To improve lung function practice breathing exercises.

Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
Avatar universal
The exposure was done without warning. Several people were affected. Many reporting same or similar symptoms. I was/am on antibiotics, nasal sprays, inhalers, steroids and other drugs to the point that I developed edema and acid reflux. I never smoked in my life and never liked how it smelled but now it affects me to the point of feeling like air was sucked out of my lungs, loosing my breath and feeling faint, just by someone passing by.

I did find some information,

Health hazards associated with moldy fiberglass in buildings, with focus on fiberglass insulation, fiberglass fragments, fiberglass in heating and air conditioning duct work, and invisible but toxic mold growth in fiberglass which has been wet, exposed to high humidity, or exposed to other moldy conditions. Small glass fiber fragments are easily "lost" in other non-fungal granular debris in building dust. Level of airborne fiberglass in buildings may be faulty if the methods used to screen for fiberglass fragments do not include small, even sub-micron particles along with the common large particles.Fiberglass fragments are inorganic material typically from fiberglass insulation; depending on their size and quantity these may be a respiratory irritant or may contribute to more serious health concerns. It is possible that small fiberglass particles in air may constitute a meaningful health risk which has not been explored.
Avatar universal
There are conflicting reports on breathing exercises and breathing deeply if there are fiberglass particles lodged in the lungs or throat. Since the particles don't pass out of the body as the whole fragments, it may cause the particles to get lodged deeper into the lung tissue and cause other issues. I guess the hope is that the particles would migrate safely into the blood stream and not get lodged where it could cause clots, cysts or cancer.
Avatar universal
Also fiberglass is glass fibers and they cut. I wonder if some of the sensitivity is capillaries or veins being exposed or cut by the lodged particles creating a direct path for infections into the blood stream. Many people reported have to increase hand washing and having to be very particular with what they eat because eating any thing not fully cooked or slightly contaminated creates an immediate sore throat in addition to the existing throat pains.
Avatar universal
Common symptoms of fiberglass overdose
•persistent, dry, hacking "barking" cough
•sore throat, bloody taste in throat or blood in sputum
•bloody nose
•persistent, occasionally very severe, sinusitis and rhinitis which does not respond to common medical treatment,
•especially treatment for allergies,
•persistent, occasionally severe respiratory infections which, again, do not respond to common medical treatment,
•headaches, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, irritability, depression,
•asthma-like breathing attacks or constant wheezing,
•other allergy-like symptoms (which do not respond to allergy treatment),
•"reactive airway disease,"
•swollen, red, watery, infected eyes,
•skin infections, ranging from mild to very severe, requiring hospitalization,
•extreme sensitivity to everyday amounts of ambient pollutants, especially: cigarette smoke, car exhaust, perfumes and colognes, some cleaning products, paints and varnishes, new paneling, cabinetry or furniture made with particle board or strand board, new cars and other new plastic, foams used for furniture and bedding, new carpeting.
Avatar universal
Just out of curiosity, are you feeling better. I may have a similar problem, and am curious to know if you were treated and are feeling better, if time eventually worked it out of your system or if it has continued to be a nuisance.
4851940 tn?1515698193
Fibreglass is an irritant, but the way the fibres break up, they cannot get lodged into the Alveoli.  So in time technically, they should be coughed up.

It is the chemicals used to make the fibreglass that causes the irritations.
Avatar universal
I would like the see the research study that you are speaking of that shows fiberglass or tissue penetrating fiberglass passes 100% out of lungs. I would like to see the study showing micron and submicron as well as whole fiber particles were inhaled then all passed out of the lungs.
Many times foreign bodies have to be manually removed from tissue. However, penetrating foreign bodies are more difficult to remove. Foreign bodies don’t all pass through the body is as you suppose. Ask any soldier wounded by shrapnel, miner, or exposure victim. Additional reports have demonstrated subcutaneous soft tissue foreign bodies from splinters to bullet fragments found years after the traumatic event.
Patients with glass embedded in a wound are more likely to report the sensation of foreign bodies. Unrecognized bronchial foreign bodies cause irreversible changes in the airways. Some foreign bodies may move from the throat into the bronchial branches. This can cause the patient to cough, but the foreign body remains trapped in the lung.
All glass is radiopaque; and there is limited ability for radiography to detect glass fragments smaller than 2 mm. Many foreign bodies are surrounded by a hypo echogenic area representing inflammation.
Most of the foreign bodies were found in the right bronchus. The interbronchial foreign bodies were recovered by bronchoscopy, while some were recovered during emergency tracheotomy and bronchotomy.
The exposure that I was in, included the blowing of the foreign bodies by fans causing them to become projectile. Everyone was coughing, causing a greater exposure and a greater chance if the substances to be imbedded into the throat and lungs. However, you are correct when saying the chemicals from the fiberglass adds to the damage to the body and tissues.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your concern. No I am not feeling or doing much better. I have continuous pain and discomfort to my throat and lungs. I have trouble breathing, tightness of chest, chest pain, squeezing of the chest, heaviness of the chest, shortness of breath, labored breathing, etc. I am on asthma medication, finally one that does not cause many side effects, but I am not sure if it is actually working. Some days are better than others. I have throat pain, a feeling that something is stuck in my throat, increase pain, feeling of a sore throat and swelling with prolonged talking which if continued develops into hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and difficulty speaking with a greater chance of infection. When I speak “too much” or sing my voice breaks. It has affected my work and employment outlook. I am constantly fatigued and have not been able to do a full schedule of house work in the years since the exposure. I have other symptoms including drug reactions. Recommended tests would be a CT, ultrasound, Doppler ultrasound, and fluoroscopy of the neck; bronchoscopy of the lungs; MRI of the brain w/contrast; Methyl Ethyl Ketone blood test; a toxicology of suspected chemicals/substances using blood, urine and tissue samples sent to a lab that does submicron testing for debris; Body Burden testing. Recommended doctors would be top rated ENT, Neurologist, Pulmonologist, Medical Toxicologist, Primary Care Physician and if you can find doctor with a past history of exposure cases even better. I pray you receive good care and assistance. Let me know how you progress or if you find any information in this issue that may help. Thanks.
4851940 tn?1515698193
Sorry to hear that you are still very unwell.

According to MedHelp Policy I am not able to write the web address that I got my information from.  You can type in your address bar "fibreglass in lungs" and you will get sites that come up with the information.  Toolboxtopics ******* typed into your address bar should bring up the information that I read.  There is also information on the American Lung Association site.

There is another site with regard to finer fibreglass particles that is used as insulation in fridges and cabinets and the very fine particles can enter the Aveoli.

What I read was that when asbestos is inhaled, the fibres as very small and when they reach the Alveoli, the Alveoli which are the little sacs in the lungs close around the dust particles.

Because fibreglass is a much larger particle, it does not get into the Alveoli sac.  That doesn't mean it doesn't cause other problems.

I agree with you that what goes into the body is not always excreted.  I have a cactus needle embedded in my body that has been there for the last 30 years causing a painful lump.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.
Avatar universal
Thanks for all the posts,
I hope you all are doing ok,
I recently had an exposure to what i believe may be airborne moldy fiberglass, when a maintenance worker tore out some fiberglass insulation from an antique oven (my original guess was it asbestos, but it tested negative). I've had symptoms similar to yours, although less severe.

Initially I had an inflamed nasal passage and throat, and slightly inflamed eyes. Then blood in sputum I sneezed up, and chest pain, shortness of breath, and sensitivity to smoke, etc.

I hope to read any updates you have. Best wishes
Avatar universal
Sorry the hear about your exposure. I hope you feel better and get quality care. Try RateMds, Healthgrades or Vitals for help finding good doctors. InspectApedia has some information on fiberglass and mold exposure. Each substance by it self has damaging effects but when you combine them the way it affects the body is multiplied like in all chemistry; vinegar or baking soda acts a certain way until you combine them. Please post any observations of findings by you or your doctors. More studies need to be done about the combination effects of substances that naturally occur together; exposure to dust, dust mites, insect waste, fiberglass and mold is a different exposure to just dust and dust mites. Thanks. GOD bless.
Avatar universal
Other symptoms that may be related are nodules in the thyroid with a negative thyroid issue(found with an ultrasound) gallstones, bladder cystitis, black/dark stool, lower back pain, abdomen pain, fatigue. I recommend that exposure patients journal their symptoms at least for a few month to see how your symptoms develops and to not miss any seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Avatar universal
I am sorry to hear you have health problem,   How much fiberglass did you breath?  i ask you because today my Ductwork was change and i breath some fiberglass,  i dont fell bad, i have dry nose, i am cleaning all my house because i have 2 kids,

gos bless you
Avatar universal
I have read this and found it very interesting....  

In past almost two years....  I have had chronic sinus infections, multiple antibiotics, steroids, inhalers, breathing treatments.  Two sinus surgeries in past year, lung xrays, EKG, Stress Test, Breathing test (which revealed low intake on inhale), Allergy Test, Endoscopy, Throat ballooned open to stretch opena constriction.... (last two year just this past week).  I also have inquirred with HVAC company about upgrade unit it is past its life expectancy......  one company pointed out that fiberglass insides in duct work was detoriating rapidly.  Research and seeing that this could be cause.  Note I just married on 10/06/2012 but was living there at least 6 months before wedding.  

Where do I go from here?

I have constant nasal type drainage, feeling of lump in throat, heaviness in chest, sometimes to point of a pain in center of chest between boobs and at times goes clean through to my back.  I have trouble sleeping, even with medication, and I am exhausted always.  I get winded carrying a load of laundry up the steps.....  I am almost 40, 5'9" in height and just under 150 lbs., female.....  so its not a weight issue.  

Any help would be appreciated?
Avatar universal
Hello, my wife and I moved into our new house 1 year ago.  I have a daughter that just turned 3 and we are expecting another daughter in the next few days.

I recently discovered our ac/ heating return vent was not installed properly and was sucking in all the fiberglass insulation from our attic for the past year.  My 3 year old daughter had constant health problems since we moved in and we just thought it was allergies from the air outside of the house or pollen.  Some of her symptoms are coughing, running nose, irritation to eye and itchy skin.  Has anybody experienced or know any dangers to what long term exposure to fiberglass insulation can cause?    
Avatar universal
I haven't yet found any real quick fix or cure treatment for fiberglass exposure. Detoxing may help with the symptoms and prolong the development of cancer. Aspirin keeps the blood thin and help any dislodged floating partials circulate out of the body as well as keeping fresh blood to the injured sites. Omega 3.6.9 is good for the brain issues as well as Turmeric. Being careful to rest and de-stress. Fresh vegetables, herbs, roots, fruits and leaves can help keep the body going and help prolong the turn for the worst. I haven't found any procedure that would take the embedded glass out. Please be aware that fiberglass particles are not on their best behavior and do not just leave the body quickly  and orderly as some articles suppose. I can circulate to other parts of the body like the brain.

Long term verses short term exposure would be a mute point because it really about the type of exposure. Working in fiberglass with proper gear and clothing for years could be listed a "long term" exposure with no side effect. When in reality the only exposure that should be counted for health purposes is when people come in contact with fiberglass without proper protection. How they were exposed, what other contaminants were attached to the fiberglass and how the exposed reacted to the exposure play a role. For example: Was the fiberglass blowing around, drifting down or being walked on? Was there mold, insect droppings, rodents droppings, other chemicals? Did the person cough with their mouth open, rub their eyes, took deep breaths to sneeze or did they cover their mouth, never touched their face, took a shower right away? It doesn't take long to have a massive damaging exposure but the build up effect over time is just as harmful.

Here are a few of the list of medical issues caused by fiberglass exposure:

skin, eye and upper respiratory tract irritation
red eyes, irritated
soar nose
soar throat
Asthma and bronchitis like conditions (reduced lung function)
stomach irritation
reactions to the formaldehyde, styrene and methyl ethyl ketone in fiberglass
brain cancer
Avatar universal
I am 49 years old and have been working with fiberglass for the last 29 years building various projects, mostly boats.
I don' t wear any protection, which is probably not a good idea, but I sand, grind and cut fiberglass all the time.
I crawled through old house ceilings, on my belly, in fiberglass insulation, more than a few times.
I have not had any health related issues because of the fiberglass.
If I were you I would start looking at other possible causes for your illness.
Avatar universal
If you had no issues from fiberglass, why are you searching for medical information on fiberglass exposure. Just looking for something random to dispute?

It would be very dismissive to say since you didn't get hurt from fiberglass anyone else who did, somehow must be affected by something else.

Perhaps you also smoked for years and didn't develop cancer so everyone else must have gotten cancer from something else.
4851940 tn?1515698193
I agree with dogooder24.  Just because YOU do not have a problem now, does not mean someone else doesn't.  And it does not guarantee that you won't get a lung disorder as you older.

You have risked your life by not wearing protection whilst working.  This is not a good advert for young men and women who work in those types of industries.  Sanding is in fact one of the worst things you can do without wearing breathing protection.  Any type of irritant, smoke, sand, silica, or fibreglass is not good news for the lungs.  The very minute particles get trapped in the alveoli.  The body's natural response is to cough to try and get rid of the irritant, but some particles are so minute and have sharp edges that they get lodged inside the Alveoli which is the cause of lung disease.

If you have or have had a cough, asthma, bronchitis, discomfort in the chest, etc., then you do have a lung disorder which may be mild at the moment, but would highly likely get much worse as you get older and the more exposure you have to the irritants the worse you will get.

My uncle used to polish off the built up sand on shells and make jewellery from the polished shells - health and safety at work was not well known when he did that type of work which was in fact his hobby.   After many years of doing this he eventually died from lung cancer as a result of the build up silica in Alveoli in his lungs.

Avatar universal
I think all he's saying is in his opinion it's unlikely considering he is a human being who has had massive and prolonged exposure to fibreglass and no symptoms whatsoever perhaps consider other possibilities.

Anyhow I've not been careful enough over the years working with fibre glass and the other days a fan blew some directly at me and I breathed it in. I also breath in dirt a lot as I lay turf etc. for a living. Currently I'm suffering with breathing difficulties and a persistent itchy throat and cough and a bit worried.

Good luck to all!
Avatar universal
How are you since your last post?
Avatar universal
Hello were did you happen to read this? My family and I have been exposed to fiberglass for years and just found out. Please help thanks.
Avatar universal
I had a similar situation with inhaling fiberglass insulation, some was in my throat and some was in my lung... It was two different occasion on the same job site (I worked in home remodeling)

How I got rid of the one in my throat, was I took a handful of activated charcoal and I letterly felt the fibers get pulled down into my stomach. It's not pleasent because I felt a sharp pain in my intestants, but it was miraculous how instant it worked!

As far as the one in my lung, it dissolved. And it should dissolve on it's own after a few month from your body temp, but to speed up the process, boil some water, pour it in a bowl and breath in the steam for five mintues

This will help detox your lungs and after doing this several times, it has been 3 months and I do not feel any presence of the fibers.

Going to see a pulmonologist is going to run you hundreds and they cannot really do anything except percribe you an inhaler. X rays cannot detect it either.

But for sure get activated charcoal if it is in your throat, and do not be discouraged if nothing happens the first time arround. Use it multiple times

You can also go to a saunna to help detox the heavy metals out your body.

Hope this helps because I was trippin when it happened to me and cost me tons on medical bills and made me quit my job, but I'm solid now
Hey Imagee, I know this is probably a long shot for me to get a response as it's been three years, but when you had the fiberglass in your lungs did your lungs ache on the left and right sides? Did it feel like cutting pains like tiny knives were hurting you? How long were you exposed for and how long did the pains continue before you fixed your symptoms? Really hope you see this, hope all is well.
Avatar universal
And I should note that it was activated COCONUT charcoal I used. Google it
Avatar universal
What is active charcoal. Did it really stop the fibreglass problem. Were in uk and cant get any help on treating fibreglass inhalation
4851940 tn?1515698193
In the UK, Holland and Barratt sell 260 mg of 200 rapid release capsules for £9.99.

I have no idea what the product is used for.  I suggest you ask them or search on the web what it is used for and any side effects.

Avatar universal
I'm doing a bathroom renovation and removed some pink fibreglass from a section of the wall.  After doing some repairs at that section, I put the fibreglass back ( I cut 1-2 pieces as well).  
Unfortunately I didn't wear any protective gear.  I have no idea what I was thinking and now I'm a bit worried.  
If I've breathed in any fibreglass particles, do the lungs recover from this and remove the harmful substances?
Avatar universal
I remodel basements and work with a lot of fiberglass insulation.  I am often caught in the midst of it without a mask and it will make my throat super sore for a few days (sometimes a full week).  But, you will wake up one day feeling fine.  Unless you're the first person in this thread, they sound like they have either Munchausen syndrome or a damn good insurance plan.
Avatar universal
I moved into my house 2.5 years ago and recently just discovered that the HVAC return plenum has exposed fiberglass batting in it, so the air is being pulled right across the fibers whenever the HVAC runs. I just turned it off and will have it looked at and repaired (hopefully) tomorrow. Did your daughter recover from her symptoms completely after yours was repaired? Did she need any other treatment? I have a 1 year old baby and she gets an unexplained rash every now and then. I am not sure if I feel any symptoms or not, I have sensitive lungs anyway from previous pulmonary embolisms (prior to living here) and so it's hard for me to tell if I'm experiencing new symptoms or just still have scar tissue from PE. The fiberglass exposure breathing symptoms are very similar to PE symptoms. I'm just mostly concerned about my daughter's health and would like to know if your little one was healed. Of course, I'll call her pediatrician and explain the issue tomorrow and see if there's anything he wants to do. Thank you.
How are you and your daughter doing?I have run into a similar issue and have a baby at home.  causing lots of anxiety! I hope you are well.
Avatar universal
Are you passive agresive or what! You slip your little story, boring as it was with your added idiotic medical opion ,, caugh caugh,, I'm sure everyone that has inhaled fiberglass will wake up and be fine,, wow, I feel so much better knowing  Gregg op has spoken.. And fyi, munched send by proxy syndrome  is when a parent tries to make others believe their child is sick when they are not, for the attention. .
And as a matter of fact,, I worked in the CCTV industry for many years , crawled in many attics on my belly trough insulation, I used to caugh and hack out black phlegm,  to this day I caugh and hack plegm  daily, I can still taste insulation sometimes when I caugh. I have cracking in my chest and when I breath it's as if there is an ammonia a like fume in my lungs keeping me from taking breaths .. But like u said, one day I will wake up Fine..
Avatar universal
Poot615 ... Your symptoms are not caused by fibreglass insulation. Fiberglass's main issue is when extremely small fibers make their way into the deep lung tissue. Long-term exposure can result in silicosis. Short-term exposure is extremely unlikely to result in anything other than short-term irritation of the throat, nasal passages, in some cases nose bleeds, and a cough. Coughing will clean the lungs of much of the fibers. The extremely small fibers that make it to deep lung tissue will be slowly removed from the lungs via lung fluids then Microphages (supposedly). Usually in the case of long-term exposure, chronic conditions will not appear for at least around 20 years later. It is debated whether inhaling Fiberglass is  carcinogenic but we know that some industrial Fiberglass can be due to the binders used. They say that consumer household fiberglass insulation is not carcinogenic, but assuming it is, it would be estimated at about 7% of what asbestos is. So it's much better than asbestos in those terms, that's even if it is carcinogenic at all. Many people inhaled a lot of asbestos in their life and never even got any chronic illness, that being said obviously many also have. Acute Fiberglass exposure extremely likely will never lead to any long-term conditions what-so-ever. Long-term exposure could lead to silicosis/fiberosis over a period of ~20+ years due to scarring of lung tissue. Cancer is extremely unlikely in all cases unless you are working with specific industrial insulations, and even then, short-term exposure likely isn't much of a risk factor. If your house is contaminated, it's hell to fix (personal experience) but it needs to be done. Fix source of contamination first, then section by section hepa vacuum and wipe down with damp cloths, use an led light to inspect surfaces.
Avatar universal
I too had fiber glass inhalation exposure. Similar sysmptoms as yours. How is your health.. any improvments over time..
i do though have daily coughs and phlegm seems to have ground shiny glassy fiber...seems coughing out buy there is shortbess of beeath getting worse since exposure few months ago....
Avatar universal
Ttoma, I was living in a house for 4 months that was completely contaminated with Fiberglass. My work also had me exposed daily for those 4 months. It has been 9 months since I quit there and for the first while I was coughing a fair bit. Some above average phlegm production as well but it seems to have gotten steadily better. I still have a cough and some phlegm, but at this point I'm not sure if Fiberglass has anything to do with it. Could just be a bit of a cold or regular phlegm production from other sources. No seemingly adverse health effect from the exposure remain. A lot of my stuff is still covered in it but I've been slowly going through the bins of stuff and cleaning it. The new place I am in has some exposed Fiberglass in the basement but I'm not really concerned. Fact is, the stuff is everywhere. I routinely visit people's houses and often there is exposed Fiberglass somewhere from work being done or unfinished basements etc. I even have family who build canoes and work with the stuff and when they visit I always find Fiberglass where ever they've been. The new place I work at has some exposed in a few places, including at the exit of some heat ducts from the furnace. Fiberglass is not healthy, but it's not a major hazard by a long stretch. Each case varies, but generally speaking the people who are at risk of serious adverse effects are those who work with it on a daily basis for many years, such as Fiberglass manufacturing, boatyards, and insulation installers. That being said, people tend to get very paranoid about Fiberglass, especially if you read everything people come up with online about it. Myself included, I absolutely hate the stuff and I get paranoid over it. It's not nearly as bad as some people claim, but it certainly isn't healthy. Do what you can to reduce exposure in your home and work place, but don't lose too much sleep over it
Avatar universal
A quick Google search of how long it takes asbestos to dissolve in lungs will bring up many studies, including Fiberglass. Fiberglass with a diameter of 1micron or smaller will dissolve in the lungs in roughly 51 days. 3 microns and smaller are inhailable into the lung tissue. Therefore Fiberglass will dissolve and be removed from your lungs in a maximum of ~130ish days. Technically sooner thanks to Microphages. Most fibers are coughed out or caught in the throat/cilia and swallowed where they are removed quickly from the body. It is true that in the time the fibers are in the body, they can cause irritation and scarring, but the irritation is generally VERY short term and the scarring is only an issue in long-term repeated exposure or MASSIVE acute exposures. Even large acute exposures generally have full recoveries in 3-9 months. For you're a smoker, you're killing the cilia that protects your lungs and this will make all kinds of exposure much worse. cilia takes time to grow back after smoking, but it does. I'm not sure the time frame but in the majority of cases I would say well under a year.
As for Fiberglass and cancer... If it's special purpose fibers of diameter 3 microns or less AND 10 microns in length or more, it could cause cancer in the long-term. Usually 10-40 years after exposure, but usually only from long-term exposure. Also, less than 1% of all Fiberglass products contain what is designated as "special purpose fibers", none of which is household insulation. Of the TONS of Fiberglass in North America, over 99% is not "special purpose fibers". Certain ceramic-composite Fiberglass falls under being special purpose fibers and are used in extreme heat situations. Fiberglass that is not in the special purpose category does not have any risk of cancer from the fibers themselves, according to over 400 government and independent studies. You can argue there is lobbying, studies that are heavily-biased, or poor testing strategies but they're all quite conclusive in saying that Glass fibers are not carcinogens through inhaling. Implantation studies that do show cancer... Frankly aren't relevant. The original poster likely was suffering from issues brought on my something unrelated or exposure to another material/substance during the event. Or perhaps just has a personal agenda. One can easily google how Fiberglass and asbestos dissolve in lungs or the over 400 studies showing mostly the same results. I do agree that it would be nice to have more studies done unbiased and accurately on only particles that fit the description of being inhalable into deep lung tissues. Another point to make, Fiberglass breaks across the fiber and not length wise so it often breaks down to no longer be considered a fiber, unlike asbestos, and doesn't cause the avioli to close up and trap the fiber, which is why it is rapidly expelled from the system via coughing and mucus/phlegm production. To give some form of comparison, most asbestos fibers last 9-14 years in the lungs before dissolving, where Fiberglass can only last a max of 51 days (both in terms of a 1 micron diameter).
Avatar universal
To go even further, for all of you who use cellulose insulations... A lot of dust inhaled from common household products, I believe cotton is one, and cellulose, actually persist in the lungs longer than Fiberglass when they make it to the deep lung tissues (where most serious issues can happen). Much like Fiberglass, they cause mechanical irritation and micro-inflammation. Although, again, they do not cause cancer. So, theoretically, they can cause more long-term issues in terms of scarring and fibrosis than Fiberglass can. Obviously dosage matters, especially when considering structure of the materials. Fiberglass is obviously more dangerous at the same dosages due to its physical structure, but being that cellulose and some constituents of all household dusts could last even longer in the body, you have to remember that we inhale much more of those products than we do Fiberglass.

Thankfully, your nose, throat, cilia, mucus, phlegm, coughing, lung fluids, Microphages, and the body's ability to remove foreign bodies or isolate them, and self-heal ultimately gives you a great line of defence. So stop being paranoid, take the proper steps to prevent unnecessary exposure, work safe, and live a happy life. Stress will kill you too, slowly and surely.

For those who want real scenarios, I have a family member that works building canoes and cuts, grinds, and sands Fiberglass daily. She is also a smoker. Yes, she wears proper protection while working. But she also brings a lot of it home with her in her vehicles, on her clothes, etc. She also lives in her basement which is full of exposed Fiberglass insulation. She has been doing this for 20 years. She has no issues with her lungs. I'm not saying it is good, it is definitely unhealthy but my point is, she's fine thus far and likely will never suffer anything serious from this. I grew up with exposed insulation in my basement in a number of places and played down there regularly and we had fans running etc, and I have absolutely no issues with my lungs. I even had a small asbestos exposure to tremolite (one of the worst asbestos forms) when I was 13. Still no issues. I've even had a recent chest X-ray. Lungs look perfect. I've also had a 4 month really bad exposure to Fiberglass, both at work and the house I lived in. Any symptoms I had quickly subsided. Fiberglass is unhealthy but it's not radioactive. Fiberglass, in today's age, is a fact of life and is not a serious hazard. Those who need to be concerned are those who work with it daily. Now stop reading all the insane amount of paranoia the Internet is spewing at you and do something productive or enjoyable. If you've got a Fiberglass issue, get it fixed but don't lose sleep over it. Trust me, I've been there.
it is interesting what you are saying and I think many people reading it wish it is true
Hi and thanks for a comment that is very grounded and somewhat relieving. We are now in our second home with fg inside the supply vent boots and were sad to find that the actual a/c duct boots are again wrapped with exposed fiberglass on the inside of each vent boot. The vent comes that way and fg was not put in after it was installed. Seems crazy to me to put it inside of the duct on purpose, but I get why. We r in Fla and they don't want condensation forming between floors and also for sound protection. Although it would seem more logical to have it wrapped on the outside of the duct and the boot and clean metal on the inside but yet here we are. Despite living in 2 homes with it symptoms are light and more like itchy eyes and itchy skin with mild chest sensations every so often although since moving here our son has gotten quite thin which could be a lot of things but with this in place it did cross my mind . We rent this condo and adore it and want to live here forever and cannot do any major construction changes. We want to buy these new thin nylon vent boot filter covers that are supposed to not restrict airflow to stop the discomfort we feel and prevent the insulation from blowing around while going thinner on the intake vent filter but worry it will freeze up the hvac unit and also cost more per month bc of the restriction. You have relieved me with what you wrote, but I still would like to not have this in our system or our air. Because I cannot seem to find out anywhere else despite asking again and again, do you know if the type of insulation that is preinstalled inside the vent boot is maybe a different form than the stuff that flies around or maybe is treated somehow to stay intact more over time just bc it is placed inside of the vent on purpose and will be in people's home air flow all the time? Can't seem to find anyone who can tell me. Thanks for your rationale calming approach to this and also any info you have or can point me to.
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Thanks to all for the information posted here. I am, however, wondering about the original poster, "dogooder24." I came across this discussion while looking for some data on burning fiberglass boats.  A neighbor constantly (and illegally) burns stuff he hauls INTO this little town, just to watch it burn. It took him 5 or 6 tries to get that boat reduced to rubish, all of which the smoke, ash, chemicals, and particles floated and blew in the wind to my yard, garden, and buildings. My husband has developed some odd breathing problems that docs cannot seem to find a cause for.  I suspected it is from all the fires that are emitting so much crap into the air! Thanks again for this informative discussion.
Avatar universal
wow this thread was extremely useful, after 3 years of pain and lots of ups and downs with my health and doctors and tests done, my doctor just prescribed me anti-depressants... now I have found more links to and new ideas for tests that should have been done a long time ago. FK my doctor FK the anti-depressants (Maybe I seem depressed because I'm in pain). I'm going to see a pulmonologist on my own and start getting some answers and some forward momentum.  I believe I have deep tissue scarring from prolonged exposure to fiberglass and have been unable to work for more than a few months at a time and have been deadly scared of cancer forming in my lungs, I'm 20 years old and every doctor has just brushed me off after not being able to find anything prominent (healthcare in Canada is mostly covered if you pay taxes but it is so ****** for things like this. Doctors are for some reason very reluctant in doing anything and when they do it will take months on months for someone to just look). I was very healthy, until I moved into my moms house full time and because of it being a 1 bedroom with 2 brothers I built a little gaming getaway in a small enclosed storage area that had exposed fiberglass, my health declined and declined then my ferret decided to burrow into the fiberglass and I was trying to get him to come out and I must have inhaled a lot at that time. since then I have occasionally been spitting up blood in my mucus it hasn't happened for a year, but **** it sucked and was scarry also I would smoke weed, (I stopped after my health got so bad and i was trying to find out what was going on). I feel soo dumb and probably cut lifespan in half from all that happened those few months (and that's being hopefull). The past few years I have done lots of natural remedies for overall health and I have by far the best diet from anyone I have known. I hope there will be technological advancements and improved treatment so I don't end up getting lung cancer but for now I will try to get the necessary help and possible treatment if I can find a doctor that doesn't think my fear of lung cancer developing is crazy.
A few things I have done that helped is get an air filter, took wheatgrass shots for a while (it helps with energy levels and alkalizes and oxidizes the blood), steam lungs to loosen up stuff, sauna, go for long walks, get a sweat going, make a healthy soup the nutrients is more easily absorbed, (get a crock pot), Light yoga and stretching, eating around 100grams of sunflower seeds a day helped surprisingly a lot, also getting a good amount of vitamin A, and D everyday is pretty important in lung tissue repair and nutrient absorption. There seem to be trials for new drugs happening all the time so there is still hope fellow fiberglass inhalers. Stay Strong.
Did you ever get anywhere with your natural treatments? I am quite scared and am wondering what might happen to me as well.
I have found it was probably not just fiberglass, but black mold and an air ionizer i thought was a air filter. recent blood work shows nothing bad but, my lungs and bones still hurt. pain has lessened but still extremely sensitive to everything... health will never be the same again just happy i am in a good living situation not stressing my body living out my days gardening and trying to farm. Starting wheat-grass again soon that seemed to help the most. saunas are good to.
Hi, thank you so much for responding Luke, it means an incredible amount. I am going through very similar symptoms to you and from the sounds of it you have never recovered. Do you get lots of dull chest pain in your left and right sides, as well as if tiny knives were cutting your chest? You have had this for five years now yes? This must be awful to have gone through this for so long, I myself have only been going through this for a few months. :(
Less and less, but it only flairs when i do something bad to them like be near smoke, and other things that irritate.
listening to audio-books is a lifesaver, get to go to another world without drugs.
Were you exposed for months or years during your exposure? It sounds like months but just want to be sure. Were there any tests that you were able to do that would show elevated areas in your body for damage/illness from the doctors? I can't concentrate now with the continuous pain and am losing a lot of hope. You did have lung aches when you were first initially in contact with it?
Avatar universal
Hi, hope you are feeling better, please let us know.
To start with, folks should know there is a big difference between being in an attic for 15 minutes without a mask, and living in a contaminated home for months or years. I fall in the latter category, a number of our HVAC ducts were lined with mesh and exposed fiberglass on top; the system was pulling in dust into our home for at least a few months.
Symptoms initially were stuffiness, not enough to make a connection. About 3 weeks ago, I had serious shortness of breath. We left the house: insulation and HVAC are replaced, and the home will be cleaned top to bottom professionally.
As far as tests go: xray was negative, stethoscope on several occasions revealed nothing, though that is apparently not surprising with inflammation and the like. Steroid course has helped a lot with symptoms; lung function tests and regular CT (not high res, which apparently is more appropriate), blood work, as well as exhaled nitrous oxide tests normal so far. However, asthma specialist confirmed that these tests may have been affected by steroid treatment. He mentioned likely pneumonitis, which is a general term for lung inflammation from many causes, outcomes range from healing over weeks/months to pulmonary fibrosis, which of course is not good. Will see a pulmonologist in a month,  hope to get more info then. A bronchoscopy or even a biopsy may be the only ways to rule out fibrosis. In the meantime, am hoping it is a passing matter.
It seems like the hazards of old/defective ductwork are not nearly publicized enough. This thread is good, in that it helps to see what other's experiences with such exposure have been. Here's to hoping every sufferer here feels better. Best wishes to you all.
To specify, symptoms have included shortness of breath, chest pains, loss of weight, phlegm, and fatigue. Each case differs based on the individual and the amount of exposure, but it would be good to hear how everyone is doing with time. Best.
I believe I was exposed to asbestos insulation and asbestos flooring and asbestos drywall for a short time but it may have been a moderate exposure for a few about an hour. What should I expect to happen.
Avatar universal
We are having our home remodeled and the contractor has left several stacks of fiberglass insulation in our home.   We did not realize it was there initially.  After a delay in construction we began using that area of the house, the kitchen, because we don't have a choice.  The fiberglass piles are still there.  Since we began using the rooms more frequently my husband came now with a bad cold and I got sick with pneumonia.  It took me a month to see any improvement.  I have a compromised immune system so I was put on heavy antibiotics and inhalers plus, cough medicine and the use of a humidifier.  I finally was feeling better after a month and now my daughter who has asthma is extremely sick, my husband is sick again and now I am sick again.  We are finding blood in the mucous that we are coughing up and also in the nasal discharge. Nothing seems to be helping. After doing some research, I am fearing that we are being affected by the fiberglass asbestos.  We have never worn protective clothing, masks or any of the such.  Any suggestions on tests that we could have performed to verify the fiberglass?  I'm hoping to rule out the exposure as the cause but as I said earlier I need to protect my family and pets.

Did the contractor leave fiberglass or asbestos (if it was installation, asbestos is impossible)? How long has it been lying in your house, and was it in an exposed area? Has anyone been disturbing the fiberglass or moving it around Have you notice excessive amounts of dust building up in the home? It seems like fiberglass could cause problems based on your level of exposure, time of exposure, and personal factors (different people can react differently to the same level of exposure). There are tests that you can purchase for $50 or so online that are basically a strip of tape that you use to collect a dust sample, and you mail it in and wait for lab results. I used one from Sylvane (not an endorsement, but at least I can confirm they respond).

If you are feeling symptoms, the safest thing to do would be to move out while you confirm the situation in your house. It is difficult ( I know, still going through it) but if there is such a contaminant in your home, safety must come first, and there is nothing wrong with being too safe. Depending on the extent of the dust, you may need a professional cleaning of the house. Wishing you all the best, and keep us posted.
Avatar universal
I wonder if after 3 years do you feel any better ?
Avatar universal
I wonder if after 3 years do you feel any better ?
Avatar universal
Hi. I have tried many different remedies. Including taking aspirin or White Willow Bark, Magnesium Citrate, Niacin 500mg (not the flush free kind) and 1500mg of omega 369. Hoping to flush out some of the particles through the blood stream. I still have throat and lung problems. I try to keep my hands and food clean. I take raw garlic diced on occasion to prevent infection. The asthma medications don't really help, but I go to the lung doctor anyway and keep a dose on me where ever I go. I have natural cough drops of echinacea  and zinc available. I get hoarse when talking for what was a normal period of time. Singing causes my throat to swell, irritate and be painful. So, I have lost a lot of functionality. I don't talk as much as I used to and now chose my words productively. GOD Is good
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