Cancer and Fiberglass

In my ongoing awakening, this week it was all about fiberglass. It made me realize that I. who considers myself an advanced Brooklyn green builder, have a lot to learn (May I never forget).

So here I am thinking that fiberglass is relatively harmless as long as you get out the Formaldehyde. Sure fiberglass is irritating because it itches, and it has high embodied energy, but it’s not deadly or anything…..think again pal.

In this case it was one of my clients who is educating ME. The great thing about being a green contractor in Brooklyn is that you attract green clients who often have a lot to teach. They have done their homework and have their own perspective.

Here is an email from one of them today regarding our ongoing conversation about fiberglass. She writes:

Check out the link is on the home page of the below link. You;ll see that they also sell medical info pack for $25, as well as a “Keeping Warm and Staying Healthy” pamphlet from NRDC (“popular and controversial”) for $10 (which I ordered but probably won;t get here in time).

http://www.sustainableenterprises.com/fin/

About the Medical information packet
Actual research and analysis from OSHA, NIOSH, the German federal government and others. Includes exclusive translatoin of “Threat of Cancer Through Artificial Mineral Fibers at the Working Place and in the Environment” by the German Federal Health, Labor and Environment agencies, plus fiberglass epidemiology and toxicology, formaldehyde health risks and more. This is the information the Fiberglass Industry does not want you to have!
$25 in the U.S. and Canada; $35 elsewhere

About Keeping Warm and Staying Healthy
Researched and written by the Natural Resources Defense Council. This popular and controversial report is currently available only through FIN.
$10 in the U.S. and Canada; $15 elsewhere

A two-page summary of this report is available here:
http://www.abcpest.com/sanantonio/handyman/files/keepingwarm.pdf

From Victims of Fiberglass FAQs page:
“The fiberglass manufacturing plant in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada was one of the dirtiest. An epidemiological study in the mid 1980s showed Sarnia fiberglass workers’ lung cancer rate to be roughly double that of the general population. The plant closed in 1991, but the workers are still sick. The Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) has been helping former Owens Corning Fiberglas workers from Sarnia with workers’ compensation claims. OHCOW wrote a report about its experiences and the knowledge gleaned from these workers.

Li Fellers contacted us in 1994, while working for ABC television’s 20/20. A determined researcher, Li gathered leads and went to work. Less than a year later, she claimed to have found, among other things, a “smoking gun.” ABC television refused to produce her story. In 1996, Fellers surfaced at the Washington Post, where she teamed up with writer Peter Perl to finally tell her story. It ran on June 22, 1997.

John Bowers of the Healthy House Institute has written an extensive article about the hazards of fiberglass. He cites case studies and other interesting statistics. Read it here. (A LINK)

In June, 1994, the Seventh Annual Report on Carcinogens was approved by the U.S. government. This document listed glass fibers of respirable size as a substance “reasonably anticipated to cause cancer in humans.” The fiberglass industry had lost a highly visible battle over their product. But that does not mean the war is over; far from it. The Ninth Annual Report on Carcinogens was just released; read what it has to say about fiberglass.

OSHA names mineral fibers a health hazard priority. Synthetic mineral fibers are one of 18 groups of substances picked by OSHA as a priority for action. Robert Horowitz of Victims of Fiberglass nominated mineral fibers for the priority list in 1994.”

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Gennaro you are not the first to see the ancestry of asbestos in the fiberglass industry.

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2 comments on “Cancer and Fiberglass
  1. Gennaro Brooks-Church says:

    Hello Paul,
    I am sorry to hear about your situation. I suggest you get more medical opinions. Beyond that I am sorry that I can’t help. We only do green building. Good luck.

  2. Paul Wiederhold says:

    Hello,
    I have been exposed to fiberglass and mold blowing from my apartment heater in July 2009. It turned the walls black and gave my girlfriend and I terrible respiratory issues. Currently I am diagnosed with reactive airway disease (bull if you ask me) and cannot join the military which was a longtime career move of mine. Can anyone help me? The insurance company wants to settle and lawyers won’t take me case because the doctor will not definitely link the fiberglass exposure to my current disease. My email is psorensen.2011@gmail.com if you can help

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