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Q. Are mineral-wool acoustic panels safe?

Published January 2015

I’m looking to get some acoustic panels of the rigid fibreglass/Rockwool type for my bedroom studio. I’ve read a few things online about possible dangers — in particular about respiratory issues (though I think carcinogenic impact was proven negative). Now, I know you wouldn’t use them if you thought there were a danger, but there’s a lot of guff online about potential issues. As my daughter has slight respiratory issues already, I definitely don’t want to make things worse. Can you offer me any advice on this?

SOS Forum post

We often advocate the use of mineral wool for use in DIY acoustic treatment — it’s safe to use provided you take sensible precautions.We often advocate the use of mineral wool for use in DIY acoustic treatment — it’s safe to use provided you take sensible precautions.SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: They’re not inherently carcinogenic, as far as I am aware, but loose fibres can certainly cause irritation. For that reason, mineral wool should always be covered with a breathable but tightly woven fabric that will prevent the release of fibres. If you’re making DIY panels, then spraying the mineral-wool slabs with a diluted PVA glue helps to keep fibre shedding down, and make sure you wear a mask while handling the stuff.

Commercial mineral-wool-based panels can smell unpleasant at first, due to the glues used, so I always unwrap them and leave in the garage for a week or so, to let the fishy glue smell dissipate before installation!

Published January 2015