To ask the Secretary of State for Ihe Environment what information he has on the cancer risks of rockwool and glasswool fibre padding; how many houses have this material installed; what steps he is taking to minimise any risk; and if he will make a statement.
I refer to the reply by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) on 1 December 1987, at column 551, on the health risks to householders from man-made mineral fibre (MMMF) loft insulation. Rockwool and glasswool fibre padding are forms of MMMF widely used for loft insulation. They are also used in new buildings for cavity wall insulation. Only limited information is available on rockwool and glasswool cavity wall insulation but this indicates that the risk to health from them is of no more consequence than that from loft insulation. Information from Audits Great Britain Ltd. suggests that at the end of 1986 14 million households at most had these materials installed as loft insulation. The Department has no information on the number of houses with rockwool or glasswool cavity wall insulation. The risk to health from these materials is extremely small, but people handling them are advised to wear a face mask conforming to BS 6016 or BS 2091 to reduce the risks still further. The Secretary of State has published further advice in the booklet "All about loft, tank and pipe insulation," which is sent to persons seeking assistance under the homes insulation scheme.