Occupational Exposure Risks to Fiberglass and Other Synthetic Vitreous Fibers in Puerto Rico
Zimmetry Environmental provides testing, monitoring and consulting services to identify and mitigate occupational exposure risks throughout the Caribbean.
Bayamon, Puerto Rico -- In Puerto Rico and throughout the rest of the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports there are many workers exposed to fiberglass and other synthetic vitreous fibers (SVFs) in manufacturing and end-use applications.
SVFs are man-made fibrous materials used for thermal and sound insulating purposes and to reinforce other materials. It is used in insulation, roofing shingles, ceiling tiles, textile and fiberglass manufacturing, and weather proofing. These inorganic materials contain aluminum or calcium silicates, and are made from rock or stone, clay, slag or glass. The three categories of synthetic vitreous fibers include:
- Glass fibers (fiberglass), including glass wool and continuous filament glass
- Mineral wool, which contains stone wool and slag wool
- Refractory ceramic fibers, used to insulate furnaces in replacement of asbestos
Insulation and building materials containing fiberglass or other SVFs can release fibers into the air when they are disturbed. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) states that when synthetic vitreous fibers are suspended in air they can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. When these fibers contact the skin, they may also cause irritation. As far as potential cancer risks are concerned, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that refractory ceramic fibers are possibly carcinogenic to humans. Insulation glass wool, continuous glass filament, rock (stone) wool and slag wool, however, are not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans according to OSHA.
“Workers who install or remove insulation, or those involved in building maintenance and repair activities, are some of the people with the highest levels of exposure to fiberglass and other SVFs,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “Those in occupations with SVF exposures should have access and training to properly utilize personal protective equipment (PPE). Engineering controls, such as ventilation, and various administrative actions can also be essential. There are even published occupational exposure limits for synthetic mineral fibers from OSHA, NIOSH and other state and professional organizations to help safeguard workers.”
Protecting workers and helping to keep companies in regulatory compliance with exposure limits to SVFs and other chemical, microbial and radiological hazards are the industrial hygiene experts at Zimmetry Environmental. They provide onsite inspections, testing, monitoring and consulting services in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean. Zimmetry has even sponsored an educational video about SVFs and potential exposure risks that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/4FEJqu4eJbA
To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their industrial hygiene, environmental, indoor air quality, compliance and consulting services, please visit www.zimmetry.com, call (787) 995.0005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.