Synthetic Mineral Fibre (SMF) is a general term used to describe a number of fibrous materials made from glass, rock or silica. They are also known as Man Made Mineral Fibres (MMMF).
SMF is used in textiles, reinforced plastics, electrical insulation, insulation batts, loose insulation fibre, acoustic insulation materials, insulation blankets or products for high temperature applications.
Concerns were raised in the 1970's about the possible health effects of SMF products. In 2001, SMF (rockwool and glasswool) was classified as Category 3 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Exposure to airborne SMF can cause skin and eye irritation and also upper respiratory tract irritation.
The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission sets an exposure standard of 0.5 respirable fibres per ml of air (f/ml) for all forms of SMF. In addition, a second exposure standard for inspirable dust of 2mg per m3 of air also applies.
The National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) National Code of Practice for the Safety Use of Synthetic Mineral Fibres [(NOHSC:2006 (1990)] describes the requirements for the handling and use of SMF and these should be adopted for all work involving SMF.
For the NOHSC Code of Practice, click on the link below:
If you are concerned about SMF exposure in your workplace, HAZCON can provide monitoring to determine your compliance with both of the exposure standards.
Our consultants can also provide assistance in identifying SMF materials, conducting risk assessments and developing work procedures to ensure the safety of all employees.
Please contact HAZCON if you would like more information, advice or a quote for SMF Monitoring.