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Fiberglass with fabric is a nightmare Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 12th November 2009
  #1
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Fiberglass with fabric is a nightmare

I'm now itching everywhere. I have taken the usual precaution when stuffing the fiberglass into the Ready Bags (the fabric is nice). But the problem came AFTER i've built it. I think a lot of fiberglass particles are coming out form the traps EVEN when they're still. I just came back from dinner and now I started feeling itchy everywhere.

I'm now scared about what it could do to my breathing organs..

Don't any of you guys who have traps have this problem? Especially the ones who move the bass traps around..

Seriously, are there ANY alternatives that doesn't involve ANY kind of fibre?
Old 12th November 2009
  #2
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As far as alternatives go, cotton is less itchy but even worst for your lungs. Acoustic foam (Auralex) is fiber-free but has terrible absorption at lows.

The best compromise I have found is to wrap the panels under the fabric in an ultra-thin layer of plastic like:

HUSKY 03512H .35 Mill Painter's Plastic, 12' X 400'

I originally tried this with fiberglass but found although it kept the fibers in absolutely, my eyes were still red and itchy after being around the panels for 2-3 days. I did not expect this, but I believe perhaps I should have, as for a layer of plastic to remotely qualify as "vapor barrier" or an effective block to any gases an industrial material like fiberglass might put off, it must generally be at least 3-12 mil thick, or 10-40x as thick as the plastic linked above.

I have since tried the same approach using ultratouch R-21-24 (R-21 in 24" wide batts), which compresses nicely to 2-4" thick at around 2-3 pcf. With the plastic, there is a complete blockage of fibers, and as the only chemical used in ultratouch preparation is boric acid (an anti-fire measure), there are no unpleasant gases to be leeched out.

Regarding the sound, I was somewhat apprehensive of plastic wrapping, but I have found it at most only very minimally (actually unnoticeably) reflective at high frequencies. If you are curious how it may sound, a starter test may be to temporarily cover your existing traps in thin, clear leaf bags. Keep in mind such bags are generally 3-8 mil, or roughly 10-30 times the thickness of the plastic I linked above. As such, the high reflection will be much more dramatic with such thick bags, but you will most likely still find the bass unaffected.

Personally, I think this method (cotton with an ultra-thin plastic membrane) is the safest and most effective way to build traps without any risk for harmful irritants (particulate or gaseous) getting into your studio air.

As an extra measure, and mostly just for your own interest, you may also wish to pick up a small HEPA/carbon air filter to run every now and then when you are not using the space. I have a little black Amaircare Roomaid. After a lifetime of living in the smoggy city, I have found it remarkable to be reminded of what clean air actually smells and tastes like.
Old 12th November 2009
  #3
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I think you're probably just experiencing the fibers that are left over after the build and whatever's settling now. I seriously doubt that you're getting anything like enough fiber migration to cause the itching as you report it. I'd give it a few more days and see if it doesn't stop on its own.

Frank
Old 13th November 2009
  #4
I wrapped all my DIY traps in butcher paper or thin packaging paper, sealed with masking tape.

For corner traps, I build them in 2' high modules. Made it very easy to move them into my room and stack them in the corners with no loose fibers in the room.

For side traps I just stacked and wrapped 2 2" panels like a birthday present.

I separated the cutting/wrapping operations from the framing/fabric covering operations. With a cleanup, shower and change of clothes in between. And of course I used gloves, hat, glasses and long sleeve shirt during the cutting/wrapping phase.

Overall, though extra work, it was worth it. I feel more comfortable being around so much fiberglass for hours at a time. No itching at all. And my room does not sound dead, even though I have a lot of treatment. I think the paper wrap might have contributed to preventing an overly dead sound.

..ant
Old 16th November 2009
  #5
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First off, i hope you were stuffing the bags outside or in a garage and not in the actual room!

Second, besides wearing long sleeves and latex gloves-n-stuff..
You should shower with COLD water afterwards. this closes your skin's pores and if you used warm water, you've just effectively let any fibers on your skin dig their way in deep... and will continue to itch you days, even a week or two later..
Old 16th November 2009
  #6
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itchy scratchy

also I have found that after following all the sage advise posted above, if you still have a pesky spot, like an itch on the hand for example, tape will do the trick.

The fibers can get stuck in your skin. Washing it at that point just won't shake it free. that is why you will have a particular spot that just won't stop itching.

I take packing tape and press it to the area, and it may take a try or two, but it always get the offensive remnant and cures the itch.
Old 16th November 2009
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by embrionic View Post
I take packing tape and press it to the area, and it may take a try or two, but it always get the offensive remnant and cures the itch.
I do this too...works like a charm.

Frank
Old 16th November 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by embrionic View Post
I take packing tape and press it to the area, and it may take a try or two, but it always get the offensive remnant and cures the itch.
I hope for you the itch is not in a 'hairy' area
Old 17th November 2009
  #9
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Before anyone goes off the deep end with concern in regards to building and working in a room with fiberglass, remember that there are people who install it every day of their lives. Let's not get too worried about ourselves here...there's far worse things in your environment.
Old 17th November 2009
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Before anyone goes off the deep end with concern in regards to building and working in a room with fiberglass, remember that there are people who install it every day of their lives. Let's not get too worried about ourselves here...there's far worse things in your environment.
Yes, but factory regulations for manufacturers are quite stringent, with mask and air filtration requirements. As for contractors who work with fiberglass daily, some of them will in fact go on to develop lung fibrosis. Just because it's not carcinogenic, doesn't mean it's necessarily good for you.

But it will depend on the build, the brand, the space, and the individual. Even with my fibers clearly contained, I was developing blood shot, red, itchy eyes and throat dryness after long periods around my last fiberglass units (OFI-48).

It wasn't worth keeping around for me given that there are equally or more affordable alternatives. Everyone has differing spaces and sensitivities, so others' experience may differ.
Old 17th November 2009
  #11
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oh come on it's not that bad! Try insulating your attic or crawlspace with the fluffy bats, that's a b-itch!

Try taking a cold shower immediately after, closes your pores so that the fibers cant get rubbed in. Rinse off, don't scrub!

Wear a dust mask if the particles are everywhere, at the worst you might be out of breath for a day or two. no worries though
Old 17th November 2009
  #12
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Sure, but I wonder how many people who are troubled by the negative effects of insulation are smokers...or eat a lot of red meat...or spend too much time sitting in a chair, and not enough time moving our bodies.

In the long run, if building bass traps out of fiberglass does you in, I suspect you were doomed from the get go. AS to the itchy red eyes, I suppose some are more sensitive than others, but it's not something I've had experience with.

I appreciate the threads suggesting alternatives for those of you who are physically hyper sensitive, but the emphasis that has been given to the dangers of fiberglass is wildly distorted.

It reminds me of my wife. We have a pipe in our basement that has an asbestos wrap around it...completely intact, yet she's convinced that it will be the death of us.
Old 17th November 2009
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Sure, but I wonder how many people who are troubled by the negative effects of insulation are smokers...or eat a lot of red meat...or spend too much time sitting in a chair, and not enough time moving our bodies.
+1,000,000

Seriously...most people expose themselves to much greater risk multiple times every day and never think twice about it. Rigid fiberglass/mineral wool poses the risk of minor irritation, nothing more.

Frank
Old 17th November 2009
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schaap View Post
I hope for you the itch is not in a 'hairy' area
If so, i don't think a cold shower would do anything! See a doctor!!!


I've never seen anyone get bloodshot eyes from working with fiberglass.. You may be in a small minority of people that are hypersensitive to certain particles, and should use an alternative! But for the vast majority of people, it poses little to no harm.. like has been said.
Old 17th November 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwwDeOhh View Post
I've never seen anyone get bloodshot eyes from working with fiberglass.. You may be in a small minority of people that are hypersensitive to certain particles, and should use an alternative! But for the vast majority of people, it poses little to no harm.. like has been said.
As above, I don't think it was particles, as they were completely contained. Also, as I said, cotton particles are actually more hazardous to your lungs than fiberglass/rockwool.

I think it was fumes from the chemical treatment. The space I was in had little aeration. Additionally, I was using Ottawa Fiber 48, not an Owens Corning 703 that everyone else is talking about, and their treatment process could be harsher than OC.

After about a week of full days, my eyes were red and my throat was sore. Every time I left, I felt better.

I think this is really the only criteria a person needs to gauge the potential harm of the stuff. Just ask yourself: Am I symptomatic when around the panels? If you are (and you don't think it's your imagination), try something else. If you are not, then there's obviously nothing to worry about.

Your physiology will tell you if there's a problem.
Old 17th November 2009
  #16
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I made a solution of PVC glue mixed with water. I then sprayed this lightly on the fiberglass panels and let them dry before covering them with fabric. Did the trick i think - not had any itchiness.
Old 17th November 2009
  #17
I cannot believe that not one single person has mentioned what is the simplest solution to handling ANY kinds of fibrous insulation, whether it be mineral wool or fiberglass...

BEFORE you handle it, rub your arms, neck face and any other remotely exposed skin HEAVILY with any type of talcum powder.

You fill your pores up with the talc, and the rough edges of the fibers cannot hang on them and chance getting pushed into the pores.

If you are itching much longer than 24 hours after handling the fiberglass, it's embedding or already embedded into a pore.

Tape is a fair solution... preferably something like Gorilla tape or stage tape... just realize, that the more you touch your skin, the more likely you are to drive the fibers deeper into the pore.

I'd suggest a VERY hot shower for at least 15 minutes before trying to pull the fibers out of the skin with tape... the larger your pores, the "easier" it will be for the adhesive to pull the fibers. Pat yourself dry... don't rub... that just drives the fibers deeper.

I smoke, eat red meat, and my ass was lit up like a damn lightbulb from being hit by lightning 15 years ago... and I've been working with virtually every type of fibrous insulation for almost 2 years now... including >3000 sq ft of 1" OC703... and only when I first started working with the mineral wool late last year, did I have any itch problems at all. I just upped the talc usage and finally had no problems at all.

The OP's symptoms are likely a chemical sensitivity. If nothing else, open the windows/doors and turn a fan on to circulate the air and for God's sake... wear a respirator.
Old 18th November 2009
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
As above, I don't think it was particles, as they were completely contained. Also, as I said, cotton particles are actually more hazardous to your lungs than fiberglass/rockwool.

I think it was fumes from the chemical treatment. The space I was in had little aeration. Additionally, I was using Ottawa Fiber 48, not an Owens Corning 703 that everyone else is talking about, and their treatment process could be harsher than OC.

After about a week of full days, my eyes were red and my throat was sore. Every time I left, I felt better.

I think this is really the only criteria a person needs to gauge the potential harm of the stuff. Just ask yourself: Am I symptomatic when around the panels? If you are (and you don't think it's your imagination), try something else. If you are not, then there's obviously nothing to worry about.

Your physiology will tell you if there's a problem.
I don't think that's the fiberglass in your room that's causing the problem. When working with the really fluffy stuff I wear safety glasses, but if an actual fiber gets on your eye it will burn/itch and you will get red eyes. But Honestly if you can't see particles floating around with a flashlight then it sounds like a chemical thing which is potentially much more dangerous.

Do other people get the same symptoms as you when they are in the room?
Old 18th November 2009
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobius.media View Post
As above, I don't think it was particles, as they were completely contained. Also, as I said, cotton particles are actually more hazardous to your lungs than fiberglass/rockwool.

I think it was fumes from the chemical treatment. The space I was in had little aeration. Additionally, I was using Ottawa Fiber 48, not an Owens Corning 703 that everyone else is talking about, and their treatment process could be harsher than OC.

After about a week of full days, my eyes were red and my throat was sore. Every time I left, I felt better.

I think this is really the only criteria a person needs to gauge the potential harm of the stuff. Just ask yourself: Am I symptomatic when around the panels? If you are (and you don't think it's your imagination), try something else. If you are not, then there's obviously nothing to worry about.

Your physiology will tell you if there's a problem.
It sounds to me like some sort of allergy (though i'm no doctor!).

Could be something in the way those panels were treated. Or, What did you use to cover the panels? Did it have an odor?
Old 18th November 2009
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwwDeOhh View Post
It sounds to me like some sort of allergy (though i'm no doctor!).

Could be something in the way those panels were treated. Or, What did you use to cover the panels? Did it have an odor?
To the best of my knowledge, it was not an allergy, it was an irritation response. As I said, initially they were in Ready Bags, and my first assumption upon feeling irritated was 'there must be loose fibers'. I tried crudely plastic wrapping them and blowing the space out with a fan.

To my surprise, this didn't help at all. From that I can only conclude it was gas from the chemical treatment leaching into my room, as organic gases should be able to pass through a thin plastic wrap fairly easily, while fibers will not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by a zombie View Post
I don't think that's the fiberglass in your room that's causing the problem. When working with the really fluffy stuff I wear safety glasses, but if an actual fiber gets on your eye it will burn/itch and you will get red eyes. But Honestly if you can't see particles floating around with a flashlight then it sounds like a chemical thing which is potentially much more dangerous.

Do other people get the same symptoms as you when they are in the room?
That's what I said - it was not a fiber issue, more likely a chemical one. No one else spent more than an hour in the room at the time. You'd never notice anything with less than a few days of (nearly) constant exposure.

It was only a few hundred dollars invested so I at that point took the insulation out and gave it away to some relatives who were finishing their basement. I picked up the Ultratouch which was actually cheaper. Plastic wrapped it with .31 mil plastic because anything of that density less than 1 mil tihck is essentially acoustically transparent. Plus I found the ultratouch put off fibers like crazy whenever moved around (eg. for baffling/location), and the plastic of course fixed that. Ready Bags over top.

Everything's been perfect since.

That doesn't mean other people should throw out their rockwool/fiberglass or obsess about something that's probably not an issue for them. This was just my experience. If I'm treating more in the future, I will use more ultratouch, or auralex perhaps for ceiling work (primarily since it's easier than a trap to stick up there).
Old 18th November 2009
  #21
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I was considering using rockwool instead of 703 for my thicker traps. Do you think one is more nasty than the other or were they all bad for you?
Old 18th November 2009
  #22
Nrt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a zombie View Post
I was considering using rockwool instead of 703 for my thicker traps. Do you think one is more nasty than the other or were they all bad for you?
I used both for my studio construction.
I think both can cause problem.
I had some problem when I finished studio, but it's gone after keep cleaning air for a month. I still always clean air with super silent air cleaner.
Old 18th November 2009
  #23
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I've been using 703 for a while with no probs, but this makes me nervous about using rock wool...
Old 18th November 2009
  #24
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So far, only I have the reaction. Only me and a partner stays around long enough.

I still have these in and I've given it a few days. Though it has not gotten worse, it hasn't gotten much better, I still feel itchy whenever I'm in the room. However, some stays at a place but some come and go. I could be itching on my knees for a while then it's my hand.

I have an HEPA filter in place and I haven't really moved the traps for a day or two, so I think I shouldn't worry about the actual fibre.

I have always thought these fiberglass are totally inert, i.e. doesn't cause any allergy apart from mechanical irritation.

Chemical reaction is even worse to me. What are the downside of breathing these gas in? What gases do they emit? FYI, I'm using CSR Bradford insulation. Apparently it's bio-soluble so I shouldn't really worry about it. I've stopped smoking for a year or two. It'd be ironic if I get any lung disease from this instead.

Folded
Old 19th November 2009
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a zombie View Post
I've been using 703 for a while with no probs, but this makes me nervous about using rock wool...
I've used both, no problems with either. YMMV

More important to consider, I think, is whether or not you plan to build your bass traps with or without a frame housing the material. Rockwool is going to be far flakier than you're accustomed to. With a frame or heavier fabric (I used like an upholestry fabric) rockwool is great.
Old 19th November 2009
  #26
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is rockwool cheaper than 703 if you get it in the same density and in the same thickness boards?
Old 19th November 2009
  #27
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Plant Fleece is one of the best options,
This is what gardeners use to protect their plants against frost. Its readily available at garden centers and not expensive
Frost Protek™ Plant Covers — Protection from Weather and Pests
Old 19th November 2009
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a zombie View Post
is rockwool cheaper than 703 if you get it in the same density and in the same thickness boards?
Typically, yes.

Frank
Old 19th November 2009
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a zombie View Post
is rockwool cheaper than 703 if you get it in the same density and in the same thickness boards?
It depends on your local market. I have read about over 3:1 price differences, and no price differences. In my region mineral wool was cheaper than glass wool for quite a while, then the prices equalized, and now are abotu the same exept for for a premium for the O-C name. Incidently there are at least 4 different companies' insulation factories in my area. The price difference appears to be a function of market demand, subset market demand, raw material availability, and the pahse of the moon. To the best of knowledge, the hockey playoffs do not have an impact.

It's all over the place,
Andre
Old 19th November 2009
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by avare View Post
To the best of knowledge, the hockey playoffs do not have an impact.
Hmmmmm....

That about shoots my theory all to hell...


Is it possibly related to football or maybe even that high paced action sport of curling??!!??
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