21st Nov 2022 -

Many homeowners have concerns about the dangers of their loft insulation, either insulation that has been previously installed or insulation they are currently installing. There are real dangers from old loft insulation within houses, which can contain asbestos, a carcinogenic material. For newer insulation, however, as long as precautions are taken during handling and installation, they will not be dangerous to the health of users. 

Is Fibreglass Insulation Dangerous to Health?

Fibreglass insulation, sometimes called glass wool, is made from small glass fibres spun together to create a woollen texture, which can be manufactured into rolls and solid batts for insulation. These rolls will need to be cut to size and fitted, either within a loft or one of several other places in a home. While many may worry about fibreglass causing cancer, it is not considered a carcinogen by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), though there is some research suggesting that inhaling fibreglass fibres can contribute to serious respiratory problems. When handling or installing fibreglass insulation you should fully cover your hands and arms, as contact with fibreglass can cause skin irritation. You should also wear a mask to avoid any inhalation and glasses to protect your eyes.

Is Fibreglass Insulation Dangerous to Inhale?

As it is an irritant, fibreglass will cause respiratory distress when breathed in. It’s vital to wear a mask when working with or cutting fibreboard, to ensure that you do not inhale any fibres. While the IARC does not classify it as a carcinogen, there are some reports that the risk of developing asthma and other serious illnesses can increase if fibreglass particles reach the lungs. If you have inhaled fibreglass, contact your GP immediately. If you have come into contact with fibreglass, wash your hands carefully.

Is Spray Foam Insulation Dangerous to Health?

Once installed, both open and closed cell spray foam insulation poses no health risks to homeowners. However, during the installation and curing process, spray foam releases chemicals called volatile organic compounds that can be dangerous to health. When installing spray foam insulation, ensure you are wearing the correct safety equipment, and that all residents have left the house during the curing process.

Is Vermiculite Insulation Dangerous?

Modern vermiculite insulation, such as Micafil, will not cause health problems for homeowners. Made from a naturally occurring mineral, vermiculite insulation can be poured within your loft for a simple-to-install insulation option. While vermiculite itself is safe for use, older batches of vermiculite from the mining town of Libby, Montana, were tainted with asbestos. This asbestos-containing vermiculite was used in houses throughout the world. If your home contains loose insulation within its loft that was installed more than 30 years ago, there is a risk that it may contain asbestos. You should have any older loose insulation analysed by a professional, and potentially removed from your property. Do not disturb loose insulation within your house, as it will release fibres that can be dangerous to inhale.

Could My Old Loft Insulation be Dangerous?

Alongside older vermiculite insulation, other forms of asbestos insulation were used within older houses. Loose-fill asbestos insulation was popular for many decades, and houses that were insulated in the nineties or before could contain it. Asbestos insulation is extremely dangerous to breathe in. It will typically be loose but can come in a range of textures and colours. If you have any doubts about the type of insulation within your loft you should not disturb it, instead, engage the services of a trained professional to analyse and remove dangerous insulation from your property. In some cases, asbestos-based old loft insulation can be left alone as long as it isn’t disturbed. When disturbed, it releases asbestos fibres which are very dangerous to breathe in.

Insulation Board vs Insulation Roll

Is Loft Insulation Flammable?

Loft insulation is typically solid in batts or rolls, made from mineral wool, fibreglass, or sheep’s wool. All three of these products are non-flammable, requiring a high temperature to melt. Mineral wool, sometimes sold as rock wool, will only melt at temperatures hotter than a house fire, making it safe to use. When installing traditional loft or attic insulation batts and rolls you can be sure that they will not contribute to a fire in your property.

Buy safe loft insulation with confidence

We offer a range of premium loft insulation materials that not only provide excellent thermal performance but also ensure the safety of your home or construction project. Our insulation products meet the highest safety standards, offering fire-resistant and non-toxic options that provide peace of mind for homeowners and trade professionals alike. Whether you are insulating a new building or upgrading an existing loft space, our products are designed to create a safe and comfortable environment while helping you save on energy costs.

For trade customers looking to open trade accounts with us, Building Materials Nationwide offers a host of advantages. Beyond access to our top-tier loft insulation products, you benefit from competitive trade pricing and dedicated support from our knowledgeable team. Signing up takes just 2 minutes online, or send us your questions before you get started.

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