Fiberglass will irritate the eyes, skin, and the respiratory system. Potential symptoms include irritation of eyes, skin, nose, and throat, dyspnea (breathing difficulty), sore throat, hoarseness and cough. Scientific evidence demonstrates that fiberglass is safe to manufacture, install and use when recommended work practices are followed to reduce temporary mechanical irritation. Unfortunately these work practices are not always followed, and fiberglass is often left exposed in basements that later become occupied. Fiberglass insulation should never be left exposed in an occupied area, according to the American Lung Association.
In the US, the National Toxicology Program ("NTP"), in June 2011, removed from its Report on Carcinogens all biosoluble glass wool used in home and building insulation and for non-insulation products. Similarly, California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment ("OEHHA"), in November 2011, published a modification to its Proposition 65 listing to include only "Glass wool fibers (inhalable and biopersistent)." The U.S. NTP and California's OEHHA action means that a cancer warning label for biosoluble fiber glass home and building insulation is no longer required under Federal or California law. All fiberglass wools commonly used for thermal and acoustical insulation were reclassified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer ("IARC") in October 2001 as Not Classifiable as to carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3).
Fiberglass itself is resistant to mold. If mold is found in or on fiberglass it is more likely that the binder is the source of the mold, since binders are often organic and more hygroscopic than the glass wool. In tests, glass wool was found to be highly resistant to the growth of mold. Only exceptional circumstances resulted in mold growth: very high relative humidity, 96% and above, or saturated glass wool, although saturated wool glass will only have moderate growth.