Good day Union Family,
Over the last number of years ceramic fiber insulation has been used less and the material itself has been changed to reduce the number of fibers that are released during installation. However, the this is still a very hazardous material. In animal studies high levels of exposure has shown that the fibers are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs causing lung fibrosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Additionally, after ceramic fiber is exposed to high heat for prolonged periods the product become more friable, and the inner layer devitrifies into a form of crystalline silica that can cause silicosis.
Ceramic fiber is used for high heat applications, usually as a first layer prior to the installation of Cal-Sil or mineral fiber. Additionally, several of our clients have contractors utilizing ceramic fiber for “stuffing” of elbows and cutouts as it is quite flexible and easy to work with.
With every install or removal of insulation we are exposed to fibers that can result in long term painful health issues. The best way to ensure that you do not become one of our numerous members that are suffering from occupational lung issues is to wear a properly fitted respirator when working with or around any fibers. I have been just as guilty as most insulators in not wearing a mask, but I ask that you take your future health seriously and wear the respirator as much as possible. The other thing we need to do is have our biyearly Pulmonary Function Test and chest X ray. If you do happen to become sick early detection is the key to survival and documentation is the key to being properly compensated through WCB.
There is significant amount of information available about ceramic fiber insulation and all the products that we work with, I would suggest that when you have time research the products you are working with and protect your health.
If you any questions feel free to contact me at the Edmonton Union hall, or take the time to ask the Nurses or Doctors at the WOW center during your next Pulmonary Function Test.