In­su­late

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It’s a safe bet to say that about the same time it was snow­ing in Queen Street in the mid­dle of this month, thou­sands of peo­ple were wish­ing they’d beefed up the in­su­la­tion in their homes when the go­ing was good and the weather warm. Given that elec­tric­ity has gone up in price by al­most 50% in the past five years, in­su­lat­ing your home makes even more sense. The com­pany that makes Pink Batts , the iconic ic­ing-su­gar pink in­su­la­tion keep­ing kiwis warm for nigh on 50 years, has re­cently been vo­cal in dis­pelling mis­in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing any car­cino­genic prop­er­ties of glass wool. Re­search from the In­ter­na­tional Agency for Re­search on Can­cer (IARC) con­firms glass wool in­su­la­tion is in the same cat­e­gory as tea and chlo­ri­nated drink­ing wa­ter. Some­times con­fused with fi­bre­glass, glass wool is dif­fer­ent in that it is bio-sol­u­ble (if it is in­haled into the lungs it will dis­solve in the body flu­ids and be cleared from the body) whereas fi­bre­glass has no bio-sol­u­ble prop­er­ties. Al­to­gether dif­fer­ent, too, is as­bestos, which is a known car­cino­gen. The use of minute quan­ti­ties of formalde­hyde in the mak­ing of Pink® Batts® has also been a source of mis­in­for­ma­tion about the health ef­fects of us­ing glass wool in­su­la­tion. In 2004 ICANZ test­ing of bonded glass wool and rock wool in­su­la­tion prod­ucts used in both res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial set­tings in­di­cated that the fi­nal prod­uct con­tains only trace amounts of formalde­hyde and poses lit­tle or no known health risk.

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