How to clean up residential fiberglass contamination

Written by lauren perez-asencio
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How to clean up residential fiberglass contamination
Fibreglass contamination can come from vents, which spray small loose particles throughout your house. (air conditioner vent image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com)

Fibreglass is a synthetic is glass mineral fibre used in many home insulation projects. Although flexible and environmentally friendly, these tiny pieces of glass can cause fibreglass contamination, which poses a serious risk for residents and homeowners. Symptoms of fibreglass contamination include bleeding noses, bloody sputum, wheezing and asthma-like symptoms, swollen eyes and irritated skin. Fibreglass contamination can degrade a normal person's health swiftly, often within a matter of days. If you discover shiny pieces of dust around the home, your home might have fibreglass contamination and requires immediate attention. Relocation is recommended until fibreglass contamination is treated by a professional.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Eye protection
  • Cling film
  • Vaccuum
  • Garbage bags
  • Mask

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Inspect all the rooms within your home for fibreglass particles. Wearing a mask to protect your nose and mouth, and gloves to protect your hands, shine a flashlight into each room with the lights out. Check for sparkling strands of dust particles, an indication of fibreglass contamination.

  2. 2

    Isolate the source of contamination. Fibreglass discovered in one or two rooms means individual heating and cooling systems are contaminated, Presence of fibreglass throughout the house indicates the central HVAC system may be the culprit. Turn off any system which appears to be circulating broken fibreglass.

  3. 3

    Replace the offending HVAC systems if professional repair cannot be done. Purchase new systems, which don't contain fibreglass. Hire a professional service to handle the HVAC removal and installation.

  4. 4

    Cover HVAC vents and sources of contamination with cling film. Open the windows to increase natural ventilation and circulation.

  5. 5

    Clean every room in the house, discarding items you don't intend to keep. Store saved, clean items in dry plastic bins. Vacuum each room, including window treatments and fabric-covered furniture several times. Strip bedsheets, clothing and washable linens and wash them according to manufacturer's instructions to remove fibres.

  6. 6

    Clean all house vents and replace air filters. Discard them in a plastic bag to prevent spilling fibreglass particles on the floor during removal and replacement.

  7. 7

    Walk through the house and reinspect for signs of leftover fibreglass residue. Vacuum, clean and wipe down any surfaces that require attention, using the glove and flashlight method. Resume normal use of the house once contamination has been fully treated.

Tips and warnings

  • Clean one room at a time.
  • Several cycles of vacuuming may be required before treatment is complete.
  • Fibreglass contamination can irritate the lungs and internal airways and create lasting health problems.
  • It's best to relocate until contamination is treated thoroughly.

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