Fibrous glass and cancer

Am J Ind Med. 1994 Oct;26(4):559-84. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700260413.


Some argue that fibrous glass (glass wool) should not be considered as a likely human carcinogen and hence should not be listed in the Seventh Annual Report on Carcinogens (ARC) prepared by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and mandated by the U.S. Congress. In examining this issue, data from both laboratory experiments (animal studies) and epidemiologic studies (human data) are reviewed with the results evaluated according to the criteria established by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and adopted in slightly modified form by the NTP for classifying substances as human carcinogens or likely human carcinogens. From our comprehensive review of the available information, we conclude that fibrous glass materials are carcinogenic, and in view of the NTP and IARC definitions should be listed in the ARC. Our review then examines the carcinogenic potency of glass fibers to humans in comparison with asbestos fibers and concludes that on a fiber-per-fiber basis, glass fibers may be as potent or even more potent than asbestos. The implications of these findings are then presented for regulatory purposes in the occupational setting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cricetinae
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Glass*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Mesothelioma / epidemiology
  • Mesothelioma / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental
  • Occupational Exposure / standards
  • Papio
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Research Design
  • Risk Management