Asked by: Barbaro Gerber
home and garden indoor environmental quality

Is cellulose insulation dangerous to breathe?

Last Updated: 16th April, 2020

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There are no dangers of very fine fibres entering your breathing system or causing any long-term damage if inhaled. This is the case with alternative products such as fibreglass insulation but not with cellulose.

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Similarly, is cellulose insulation dangerous?

Cellulose insulation is safe. It is made of paper, but the chemical treatment provides it with permanent fire resistance. There's been static generated by the fiberglass industry warning that cellulose could burn. But independent testing confirms it's safe and cellulose is approved by all building codes.

Beside above, what happens if you breathe in too much insulation? The nature of the insulation means its fibres can come loose and stick to your skin, and to your nose, mouth and eyes. It can also irritate your lungs if you inhale a lot of it, causing coughing and discomfort for a couple of days after.

Similarly, is blown in insulation bad for your lungs?

It is possible that the material can produce harmful off-gassing from the ink contained in the newspapers, but insulation is generally contained in sealed locations, so this is not likely to be a health concern. As is true with fiberglass, protect your lungs with a breathing mask when handling cellulose insulation.

Does cellulose insulation have an odor?

Have your potential insulation installer give you a cellulose sample in a baggie and take a whiff: it should be odorless. It might smell like newspaper a bit because that is what it is. Sit with the sample for a day or two and see if the smell bothers you, and if it goes away.

Related Question Answers

Jeroen Dubnov

Professional

Rimsha Jeoomal

Professional

Will cellulose insulation mold?

Excessive moisture causes the cellulose to sag and settle, an effect that is especially detrimental in wall cavities. Settled insulation could leave the entire upper half of your walls uninsulated! Mold growth sets in: Thanks to its chemical treatment, mold doesn't grow on cellulose insulation.

Toby Baztan

Professional

Which is better insulation cellulose or fiberglass?

A given sample of cellulose insulation will provide better thermal performance than an identically sized sample of fiberglass insulation. Per square inch of insulation, cellulose has a higher R-value than fiberglass. With loose fill cellulose insulation, you can achieve an R-value of 3.2 to 3.8 per square inch.

Puiu Probert

Explainer

Is there asbestos in cellulose insulation?

This means cellulose insulation does not contain asbestos and is a safe insulation, blown into the cavities.

Shela Junanker

Explainer

Is cellulose toxic to humans?

Is cellulose toxic? No. It is considered a nuisance dust by the E.P.A. and the borates that the cellulose is treated with are non-toxic to humans.

Khawla Nakhmanovich

Explainer

Does cellulose insulation cause dust?

It can be installed as either a loose-fill or blown-in insulation. While it may be one of the oldest materials, cellulose can still have a number of issues ranging from dust getting all over your home to the material settling leaving areas uninsulated.

Gleice Manchon

Pundit

Should I remove cellulose insulation?

Over time, however, cellulose insulation can settle, limiting its thermal efficiency. In such cases, the cellulose must be removed. Loose cellulose is extremely messy and dirty. To prevent the particles from contaminating the house, seal off the room in which you work and place the vacuum outside, if possible.

Birthe Cao

Pundit

Does cellulose insulation deter rodents?

The insulation has a low toxicity to mammals such as mice that filter out the poison through their livers, Ansley says. But because the cellulose insulation is loose and falls in on itself, rodents don't like it and will often leave because they prefer areas where they can burrow in order to nest.

Steffany Schauffel

Pundit

Does fiberglass stay in your lungs?

Smaller fibers may be inhaled deep into the lungs. Inhaled fibers are removed from the body partially through sneezing or coughing, and through the body's defense mechanisms. Fiberglass that reaches the lungs may remain in the lungs or the thoracic region. Ingested fiberglass is removed from the body via feces.

Eusebia Morava

Pundit

How dangerous is blown in insulation?

?Loose-fill and blown-in insulations come in several forms. Fiberglass insulation has the same effect on our lungs, skin, and eyes. The area exposed to fiberglass becomes itchy and irritated. If these small particles of glass become lodged in the lungs, serious respiratory conditions may result (Green Build).

Pariksit Ackroyd

Pundit

Is attic insulation bad to breathe?

Fiberglass Particles Can Harm Breathing Systems
As a result, people who handle or are exposed to this insulation can breathe in tiny bits of glass. After a while, those bits can get stuck in a person's lungs, leading to respiratory ailments. Fiberglass exposure can also inflame the eyes and skin, making them itchy.

Asdrubal Valov

Teacher

Is blown in insulation cheaper than batts?

Blow-in insulation is quite comparable in cost and R-value when compared to fiberglass batts or blankets. DIY-friendly. Blow-in insulation is difficult for DIYers, especially for wall cavities. Attic insulation can be a DIY project with a rented or borrowed blower but is still a challenge.

Amilcar Bierotte

Teacher

What is blown in insulation made of?

There are three general types of blown insulation materials currently available: fiberglass, cellulose and rock wool. Fiberglass loose-fill insulation is made glass and sand that are spun or “blown” into fibers. This type of insulation is great for wall cavities and attics.

Elin Heither

Teacher

How do you get insulation off your body?

They also recommend that if you get fiberglass insulation on your skin to take a cold shower (to rinse off fibers while keeping your pores closed) followed by a hot shower (to open your pores to make it easier to scrub remaining fibers out).

Sfia Corea

Teacher

Is blown in insulation good?

- Blown-in insulation is better for the environment. Blown-in insulation is composed of mainly recycled materials like cellulose and fiberglass. - Blown-in insulation has an R-value between 2.2- 3.8 per inch of product, and while this is still low, the loose material is easier to fit in most areas.

Madalyn Lorge

Reviewer

What is the R value of blown in insulation?

Here are the R-values per inch of the most common types of insulation: Fiberglass (blown): 2.2 – 2.9. Fiberglass (batts): 2.9 – 3.8. Cellulose (blown): 3.1 – 3.8.

Roselle Beller

Reviewer

Does pink insulation have asbestos?

Most houses are not insulated with asbestos containing materials. Some of the most common insulation products are the 'batt' type materials ('pink batts', 'yellow batts', 'tuff batts' etc). These are a synthetic mineral fibre or rockwool product and do not contain asbestos.

Azael Irisarri

Reviewer

Can breathing fiberglass kill you?

Fiberglass is not like asbestos which frays into smaller and smaller sharp crystalline shards and works it's way into cell structures; the glass is amorphous and pretty quickly works its way out of tissue. No, but it will scratch the lining in your lungs so it is bad for you.

Heorhiy Atanasov

Reviewer

Is it bad to sleep in a room with exposed insulation?

“Fiberglass insulation should never be left exposed in an occupied area, according to the American Lung Association,” says ALA's Godfrey. “Exposed fiberglass insulation, once in the air, does cause respiratory reactions, such as dry, scratchy throat and coughing, as well as acting as a skin and eye irritant.