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NEW STUDIES SUPPORT SAFETY OF FIBER GLASS

 NEW STUDIES SUPPORT SAFETY OF FIBER GLASS
 NEW YORK, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A series of new studies on the


health effects of glass fibers adds to the growing body of research that demonstrates the safety of fiber glass insulation.
 At a press conference here today, Dr. Joel R. Bender, vice president of health, safety and environmental affairs for Owens-Corning, detailed the results of four new studies on fiber glass and health which have been completed during the past year:
 "A Case Control Study of Malignant and Non-malignant
 Respiratory Disease Among Employees of a Fiberglass
 Manufacturing Facility," Dr. Leonard Chiazze, Georgetown
 University, Washington, D.C.
 "Follow-up Study of Man-Made Mineral Fiber Workers,"
 Dr. Hans Weill, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
 "Chronic Animal Inhalation Study," Thermal Insulation
 Manufacturers Association/Research and Consulting Company,
 Geneva, Switzerland
 "Lung Cancer Risk Among Workers Exposed to Man-Made Mineral
 Fibers in the Swedish Prefabricated House Industry," Dr. Per
 Gustavson, Karolinka Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
 Dr. Bender indicated, "the weight of the evidence cannot be ignored. Research findings in both animals and humans are consistent over five decades. There has been no association found between breathing glass fibers and the development of lung cancer."
 Closer Analysis
 One of the new studies was conducted by Georgetown University scientists. It involved workers at Owens-Corning's oldest and largest manufacturing plant in Newark, Ohio.
 The study showed a direct link between smoking and death from lung cancer in workers at the Newark plant. In reporting on his findings, Dr. Chiazze stated, "Clearly, in this study, cigarette smoking was such an overpowering predictor for lung cancer that other variables were overwhelmed in any model.
 Dr. Chiazze performed an analysis of lung cancer deaths from the Newark, Ohio plant. Workers at the plant had shown a slightly higher- than-expected death rate from lung cancer. Dr. Chiazze's rl?ts, published in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1992 read, in part, "Results...clearly indicate that smoking is the most important non-workplace factor for risk of lung cancer in this group of workers." In a more recent submission, Dr. Chiazze did not find an association between exposure to glass fibers and lung cancer.
 Body of Human Evidence Grows
 A study completed by Hans Weill, M.D., at the Tulane University School of Medicine in 1992 also sought to narrow the field of potential disease-causing agents thought to be responsible for abnormal lung x- rays in some plant workers.
 "Initial results from this 1979-80 study," Dr. Bender explained, "show small 'opacities' (or shadows) on some plant workers' lung x- rays."
 In the current study, Dr. Weill includes a comparison group of workers not exposed to fiber glass. He did not find a difference between the two groups.
 Dr. Weill commented on the findings from his study, stating, "...After ten years of these investigations, we have failed to demonstrate an adverse effect of |fiber glass~ exposure on respiratory health. We have found workers in this industry to be generally healthy, without any detectable evidence of occupationally induced |lung~ disease."
 "Other recent evidence we have that fiber glass is safe to manufacture and install comes from Sweden," Dr. Bender said.
 "Scientists followed workers at Swedish prefabricated home manufacturers for 11 years. There was no excess of lung cancer in the workers exposed to fiber glass."
 Inhalation is Key
 Owens-Corning has long maintained that animal inhalation studies are the most relevant test to predict human health effects of airborne fibers. Recently, this position was affirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe. It stated that inhalation studies are the most appropriate method for evaluation of the biological activity of respirable fibers. WHO compared the relevance of inhalation to that of surgically implanting glass fibers into experimental animals' body cavities.
 "Animal inhalation is the most accurate model for predicting the possible effects on humans of exposure to airborne fibers," Dr. Bender pointed out. "Other types of exposure bypass the animal's natural respiratory defenses and do not allow us to extrapolate effectively to humans."
 Consistent Animal Evidence
 The animal inhalation studies, in conjunction with the epidemiology, have provided powerful evidence that working with fiber glass does not pose a significant human health risk. Late this summer the results of the most extensive animal inhalation study ever conducted showed that there was no lung scarring or increase in cancer even though the animals inhaled extremely high doses of respirable glass fibers.
 The study, sponsored by the Thermal Insulation Manufacturers Association (TIMA) and conducted by the Research and Consulting Company (RCC) of Geneva, Switzerland, provides results highly consistent with findings from seven previous animal inhalation studies.
 "The animals inhaled concentrations of glass fibers up to 2,500 times higher than are found in the workplace," Dr. Bender said. "There was no lung scarring, mesothelioma or excess of lung tumors, all of which are seen in animals following asbestos exposure."
 Stewardship for the Future
 Dr. Bender concluded by stating, "We will continue to review the health effects of our products as technology advances, and to share new information with regulators, scientists, customers, employees, end-users and the public."
 -0- 10/21/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Noonan of Burson-Marsteller, 212-614-4450, for Owens-Corning/
 (OCF) CO: Owens-Corning ST: Ohio IN: SU:


KD -- NY095 -- 3066 10/21/92 16:00 EDT
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Date:Oct 21, 1992
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