Fibrous glass is a synthetic fiber made from tiny particles of glass. It can harm the eyes, skin, and the lungs. Workers may be harmed from exposure to fibrous glass. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.
Fibrous glass is used in many industries. It is used in insulation, roofing shingles, ceiling tiles, textile and fiberglass manufacturing, and weather proofing. Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to fibrous glass include the following:
- Workers who install fiberglass installation
- Factory workers involved in boat manufacturing
- Service workers who clean or install HVAC ductwork
- Construction workers who demolish buildings
NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries. If you work in an industry that uses fibrous glass, please read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheets for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.
The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to fibrous glass. Useful search terms for fibrous glass include “Fiber Glas®,” “fiberglass,” “glass fibers,” “synthetic vitreous fibers,” and “glass wool.”
The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) helps workers, employers, and occupational health professionals recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.
The NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHE) conducts onsite investigations of possible worker exposure to chemicals. Search the HHE database for more information on fibrous glass.
- NIOSHTIC-2 search results on fibrous glass—NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable database of worker safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.
- NIOSH Worker Health Study Summaries—NIOSH conducts research to prevent illnesses and injuries in the workplace. The NIOSH Worker Notification Program notifies workers and other stakeholders about the findings of these research studies.
- NIOSH Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Fibrous Glass—DHHS (NIOSH) No. 77-152. This report increases awareness and recommends work practices to reduce exposures.
- Asbestos and other fibers by PCM No. 7400—Sampling and measurement from NMAM, fourth edition
- ATSDR ToxFAQs for Synthetic Vitreous Fibers
- ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Synthetic Vitreous Fibers
- EPA Chemistry Dashboard: Fibrous Glass
- IARC Monograph Vol. 81: Man-made Vitreous Fibres
- NTP Report on Carcinogens, Fourteenth Edition: Glass Wool Fibers and Final Background Document
- NLM Haz-Map: Fibrous Glass
- OSHA Chemical Sampling: Fibrous Glass Dust
- OSHA Hazard Communication
- OSHA Health and Safety Topic: Synthetic Mineral Fibers
- New Jersey Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet: Fibrous Glass
- Phelps Industry Blog: Fiberglass – Types, Properties, and Applications Across Industries
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS): Fibrous Glass
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS): Glass Wool
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): Fibrous Glass
- Gestis Substance Database
- International Chemical Safety Card: Glass Fibres and Glass Wool
- OECD Global Portal to Information on Chemical Substances
- Page last reviewed: November 2, 2018
- Page last updated: November 2, 2018
- Content source:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division