Based on scientific risk-assessments by independent research institutes (e.g.
the Fraunhofer Institute and the International Agency for Research on Cancer-IARC),
European/international requirements, legislation and current state-of-the-art
knowledge, we state that the fibres in Rockwool/Grodan stone wool substrates are
not related to asbestos and pose no risks for the use or safety of human beings,
plants and the environment in normal use.
General safety aspects of fibres
In general, when exposed to airborne fibres, these fibres may enter the human
body through the lungs by inhalation1. In the lungs, a defensive mechanism is
triggered aiming to isolate and eliminate the “foreign elements” by removing,
amongst others, the foreign elements by dissolving them. The health risk (which
may lead to cancer) is dependant on the time the foreign elements stay within
the lungs. This depends on the chemical composition of the fibre and the local
physiological circumstances within the part of the lung where the foreign element
is present. The smaller in diameter the fibre, the deeper it can penetrate into
the lungs and the more possible damage it can do.
Asbestos fibres are from a natural origin and have the capability of breaking
down into extremely tiny fibres. Rockwool fibers do not have this characteristic
and maintain their original shape and do not split up into finer fibres.
Scientific investigations (e.g. the Fraunhofer Institute and the IARC) established
that the residence time of Rockwool HT fibres present in the lungs is short; half-life
time < 40 days has been established for the Rockwool HT-fibres of Grodan. Based
on this half-life time, which indicates the speed by which the fibres are cleared
from the lungs, the Rockwool fibres are exonerated from any cancer classification
by the authorities.
- When stone wool fibers are used appropriately and following user guidelines,
the amount of airborne fibers is very low. Independent investigations show levels
which are far below the maximum allowed Mac (maximum allowance concentration)
values, even in production environments.
Safety classification of Rockwool/Grodan HT fibres
Rockwool/Grodan produce stone wool substrates only on the basis of HT-fibres,
which are fully biosoluble.
This is regularly tested by independent research institutes. Moreover, the World
Health Organisation and the European Union defined international legislation regarding
cancer classification of fibres.
- Certification of the Fraunhofer Institute for Drug Research and Clinical
Inhalation in Germany: this institute conducts bio-persistence studies after intratacheal
installation of fibres. The Fraunhofer Institute is an independent and highly
respected institute. It complies with EU- legislation regarding cancer classification
of fibres and co-operates with the IARC. Rockwool/Grodan acquired the Fraunhofer
certification in 1999 based on half-life time < 40 days in accordance with
Guideline 67/548/EWG Note Q (intratracheal instillation).
- Other research conducted by independent bodies: the IARC co-ordinates and
conducts research on the causes of human cancer, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis,
and develops scientific strategies for cancer control. Based on the evaluation
made by IARC, using results from different studies (e.g. of RCC, the Fraunhofer
Institute), it was concluded hat the Rockwool (HT) fibres are exonerated form
any cancer classification.
- EU legislation on man-made vitreous fibers (MMVF): Guideline 67/548/EWG Note
Q. Our HT stone wool -fibre is a MMVF that fulfills European regulatory requirements
for exoneration from any cancer classification by national or international bodies.
Based on the above information we state that our fibres are exonerated from
any carcinogenic classifications. Our fibres are not related to asbestos and pose
no risks for the use or safety of human beings, plants and the environment in
Ir. J.M.W. Cuypers
Manager Research & Development Grodan Group