Fiberglass insulation is a popular way to make homes more energy efficient. For many years, asbestos was the standard way homes were insulated. However, asbestos was banned by the EPA in 1989 as asbestos fibers were known to cause cancer and other serious diseases. Fiberglass then took over as the most popular form of insulation. Like asbestos, fiberglass saves energy by cutting back on heat flow from one area to another. Fiberglass insulation can be used in attics, walls, floors and around windows. Two popular types of fiberglass insulation are batts (rolls) and loose fill. While fiberglass insulation is relatively inexpensive and can be installed by the homeowner, there are hazards involved.
During installation, fiberglass particles become separated and can cause irritation to the skin. Wearing pants, long sleeves and gloves is highly recommended. The same fiberglass particles can also cause damage to the eyes and lungs, especially if they become embedded. For this reason, do-it-yourself homeowners should use protective goggles and a respirator. Or, have a professional do the work for you.
The risks associated with fiberglass particles are significant enough for the government (OSHA) to issue cancer warnings on fiberglass materials.
There are other forms of insulation that do not carry these risks. Examples include cotton, cellulose (recycled newspapers) and spray foam insulation. There are trade-offs associated with all forms of insulation such as energy savings, ease of installation, cost, safety, etc. So do your research to see what is best for your project!