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Asthma

Asthma/Fiberglass-Follow up Question (Sorry)

03/18/2010

Question:

I apologize, I should have been more clear in my description of what happened. When I originally arrived home I disrobed outside, went in and immediately took a shower. However, my wife is afraid that on subsequent occasions I was transferring more fiberglass dust into the house from my car. We purchased a sealed HEPA vacuum and two sealed HEPA air purifiers--however, such is my wife`s fear of this aggravating her asthma she is insisting that I vacuum literally every object in the house, for fear it has become contaminated with fiberglass dust. As I previously mentioned she is convinced (by information online on the Fiberglass Information Network), that if she inhales even one microscopic piece of this dust that it is going to lodge in her lungs, form a cyst, and further compromise her ability to breathe. Is this truly what happens when you inhale microscopic (less than 10 microns) bits of fiberglass, or is it somehow dissolved or removed by the lungs? Sorry for the extra questions. Thanks so much.

Answer:

I do not think your wife's concerns are completely warranted.  It sounds like the network is over-dramatizing.  Certainly, fiberglass exposure can cause significant health problems but not one speck.  It sounds like you have taken excellent precautions to reduce exposures in the home.  The only suggestion I have that might alleviate her concerns is to have an industrial hygienist come into the home and do an inspection.  In the meantime, continue to take every precaution to prevent indoor contamination of the home with fiberglass.

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Response by:

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati