Exoneration from hazardous materials classification

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During installation, when the insulation is cut, levels of dust (depending on factors such as cutting equipment, ventilation) can be created. Through a series of extensive tests related to bio persistence of fibre, Mineral Wool fibres in Knauf Insulation products have been removed from any ‘hazard’ classification under standards related to the classification and labelling of chemicals.


The Mineral Wool industry has worked to ensure and to prove to workers, users and building owners, that Mineral Wool is safe for its intended uses.


The European Union directive 67/548/EEC as amended, 97/69/EC dated 5th December 1997 and more lately the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP), 1272/2008 and the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals, REACH, sets out the European Union classification and labelling framework for man-made vitreous (silicate) fibres (MMVFs), including those fibres from which Knauf Insulation, Mineral Wool products are made.

The legislation provides a system of tests, through Note Q, of the CLP regulations, demonstrating that Mineral Wool fibres can be shown to be free of carcinogenic risk and thus exonerated from any such hazard classification.  Under this EU system, the Mineral Wool fibres used to make Knauf Insulation products are not classified, since they meet the exoneration criteria reflecting the bio-solubility of the fibre in the human body.

The legislation also provides classifications for other health effects of chemicals including e.g. toxicity and irritancy effects. Although strictly a system for classification of “chemicals”, the Directive had been used to assess and classify Mineral Wool fibres, Mineral wool products do not have any hazardous classification associated with them.

European health and safety legislation confirms that Knauf insulation, Mineral Wool products are free from suspicion of carcinogenic effects i.e. are not classified as a possible human carcinogen.


Furthermore, all products manufactured by Knauf Insulation are made of non-classified fibres and are certified by EUCEB. EUCEB, European Certification Board of Mineral Wool Products, is a voluntary initiative by the Mineral Wool industry. It is an independent certification authority that guarantees that products are made of fibres, which comply with the exoneration criteria for carcinogenicity (Note Q) of the Regulation (EC) 1272/2008. The Mineral Wool producers commit to EUCEB to:

  • supply sampling and analysis reports established by laboratories recognized by EUCEB, proving that the fibres comply with one of the four criteria of exoneration described in Note Q,
  • be controlled, twice per year, of each production unit by an independent third party recognized by EUCEB (sampling and conformity to the initial chemical composition),
  • put in place procedures of internal self-control in each production unit.

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In Germany, the RAL quality mark for "products made of Mineral Wool" indicates that the quality and safety of Mineral Wool products is checked by an independent third party; the Gütegemeinschaft Mineralwolle e.V. (GGM). This organization regularly checks that the manufacturer of the Mineral Wool is meeting the requirements of the exemption criteria given in the German "Hazardous Substances Ordinance" (Gefahrstoff-Verordnung) for bio-soluble fibres. The RAL quality mark is an indication that products can be used and handled safely without health hazards.

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In October 2001 a panel of international scientific experts reviewed the earlier 1987 IARC Monograph and classification in the light of more recent scientific evidence and understanding of the health effects of various man-made mineral fibres. They concluded that the classification of Mineral Wool fibres (to include all Glass Wool, Rock(Stone) Wool, and Slag Wool) should be reduced from Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic) to Group 3 (not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans), thus updating IARC’s earlier precautionary classification, which  arose as a consequence of insufficient evidence being available at the time of issue. (See IARC Monograph Vol 81 2002). This classification applies to fibres from old manufacturing processes as well as new fibres and processes.