British Lung Foundation

COPD and Exposure to Fiberglass?


I was diagnosed at 52 one year ago. Funny thing is I never had any symptoms and never smoked (also not A1A deficient). I was a personal trainer and in excellent health. However, two weeks before the diagnosis I accidentally inhaled a heavy does of FR-4 epoxy coated fiberglass. My lungs hurt the same day followed by months of bronchitis, chest pain and shortness of breath.

Pulmonologist told mean a COPD cannot be caused by even a one time heavy does of such material. On line research has backed this up stating that unlike asbestos, fiberglass shards are cleared from the lungs within a few weeks and should cause no long term issues for infrequent exposure. It's only chronic exposure in which the body never gets a chance to clear the lungs that causes problems.

But I have been to the ER twice for other things and they all tell me I have COPD and now I have great shortness of breath and it's been a year since I inhaled the fiberglass.

Is this COPD? Anyone else experience something like this?

5 Replies
oldestnewest first post...i have copd amd like you it siddenly was there..l also inhaled fumes from roofing felt which had to be heated to apply...who knows..


Might just be you'll be in a rough patch for a while and completely recover. MSDS for roofing pitch talks about irritation and acute effects but nothing long term.

I knew a guy who tiled his bathroom floor with the door shut (no ventilation). He inhaled the fumes from the glue and it actually gluing his lungs shut! He turned blue and they rushed him to the hospital where they lavaged his lungs. That was years ago, but he's perfectly fine now.


Hi Michael,

I am experiencing something very similar to what you have described. For the past 3 1/2 years I have been working with a small carpentry crew. One day I was asked to go to a different location to do work for a day and forgot my respirator at the other site. I was so used to wearing the respirator and doing everything without care. At the new site I needed to remove some old insulation from a couple of stud cavities and decided to go ahead and remove the insulation without a respirator but whilst holding my breath and going away from the area to get new breaths of air. I worry that perhaps when I went away from the area I was actually taking in breaths of fine insulation dust that I did not know think were there. That was about 13 months ago now.

That night I noticed pain in my lungs/chest area and have felt it ever since. Feels like a very subtle inflammation/burning sensation. Sometimes I feel it up higher in the lungs, sometimes sharp pains and sometimes I feel it in both lungs at the same time, I even sometimes feel it in the diaphragm area. Lung function is normal and chest x-rays did not show anything. I'm waiting to go to a specialist in October.

Another similarity to you is that last August it went completely away for 6 weeks and then came back and has been back ever since.

I was under the impression that fibreglass was not really anything to serious to worry about so I did not treat it with proper caution. It's really shitty that one mistake can lead to such longterm physical and now mental suffering. It's really hard to know what is happening and I guess only time will really tell.

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I did a similar but private noise reduction installation job with acoustic false ceiling fiberglass plates, cutting and bending them. Only a few minutes without a breathing mask. Now probably a lifetime in agony. Feels like little needles have filled my lungs. Terrible pain and internal itching. Coughing like h*ll every day and night. Mid 30's and have desktop job.

It has been like this for one month now without any sign of improvement. Doctors can't find anything in pulmonary tests or x-ray or CT scanning.

I have no higher hopes to survive as long as planned now.

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I too have also been exposed to fiberglass for a few months and now I fear I will suffer the consequences. I have found little to no cures/information but apparently saunas could help - I don't see how unfortunately. I really need to know if silicas eventually are disposed of, or if the microphages bring the silica particles into the lungs to die. If anyone is still here please update us to let us know how you're doing. Best wishes to all, and stay safe.


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