Hot water heater alternatives? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-03-2011, 06:44 PM   #1
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Hot water heater alternatives?

The existing water heater in my 1988 Bigfoot 17 is too tall. I want to install a couch there, and would prefer something about 10" tall instead of 14"+.

I see that some new ones are only 12.5" high, which might end up being an ok compromise.

I also see instant on demand units available for trailers. Has anyone tried one?

Also, has anyone moved one, or another exterior-protruding appliance in a fiberglass trailer? Is there some acceptable way of patching up the old hole in terms of leak-proofness, that doesn't involve working with toxic evil fiberglass?
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:51 PM   #2
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Please take a look at one of these 2 threads for the first couple questions:

Portable propane shower

On Demand Water Heaters

As for sealing if you remove the existing heater, it really doesn't protrude. So you could just leave the hatch cover on and add a plate on the inside. But, most of us here on the forum don't consider fiberglass toxic or evil. It's actually pretty easy to work with.
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:10 PM   #3
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You've got to be kidding. The health risks of working with fiberglass are notorious among sculpting processes, a lot of which are quite dangerous and toxic. The polymer fumes are hazardous to the skin and lungs, and can eat right through some supposedly protective materials. Worse, there is a strong connection between exposure and liver cancer. There are similar issues with the glass fibers. Sensible people who make large sculptures with it use full body suits, motorized forced-air respirators, and set up a separate decon room to suit up and suit down. Anecdotally, I have heard stories about people who just used gloves and supposedly adequate passive respirators so inundated with the stuff that people could smell in on their breath the next day.
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:42 PM   #4
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As with most risks, frequency and length of exposure play a big part. The MSDS sheet for polyester resin does state "REPEATED EXPOSURE TO HIGH CONCENTRATIONS OF HIGH CONCENTRATIONS OF VAPOR MAY CAUSE LIVER AND KIDNEY DAMAGE" but I use it outdoors and don't lay up yards of fabric every day. I wear a respirator for the fiber and keep plenty of ventilation going. I was surprised the MSDS sheet did not list plastic resin as a carcinogen because here in California, hundreds of commonly used materials are so indicated.

There are some notes here on the glass fibers that may be of interest: Is Fiberglass a Health Hazard

Safety and Health Concerns: Fiberglass

FIBERGLASS RESIN - UNSATURATED POLYESTER RESIN

If you run across any studies on fiberglass hazards, please link 'em up. I am sure it would be of general interest. Anecdotes are interesting, but they are stories. I kind of worry about the epoxies that go into my fillings because I am grinding away at those all day.

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Old 01-03-2011, 07:53 PM   #5
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update - I found some more stuff linked off a pubmed search. I haven't checked the links or investigated the articles so I can't speak to the accuracy of the summaries:

FIBERGLASS STUDIES

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Researchers injected rats with highly dissolvable fiberglass to assay whether or not byproducts of fiber dissolution were likely carcinogenic. No tumors were generated. They concluded that the degree of carcinogenic potency of a fiber depends primarily on the extent to which it retains its fibrous structure over time, not its chemical composition.

Pulmonary response of mice to fiberglass : cytokinetic and biochemical studies
Comparison of fibrogenic effects of fiberglass and asbestos in rats. Demonstrates that fiberglass requires doses 10x that of asbestos to induce similar levels of fibrosis (scarring) to the lung. Unknown what type/durability of fiberglass was used.

Biopersistence of synthetic vitreous fibers and am...
Biopersistence of synthetic vitreous fibers and am... [Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1998] - PubMed result

Comparative look at fiberglass, rockwool and asbestos in hamster inhalation. The very biopersistent fibers like asbestos and specialty high durability ceramics/fiberglass were carcinogenic, while the more rapidly clearing fibers, like normal commercial fiberglass equivalent to oc703, were not at all.

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A one year fiberglass vs. asbestos breathing study in hamsters. Animals exposed to typical commercial fiberglass experienced only nonspecific pulmonary inflammation. However, exposures to a special, high durability fiberglass and asbestos were associated with lung fibrosis and possible mesotheliomas (lung cancer).

Science of the Health Effects of Fibers - Science of the Health Effects of Fibers
OC's research paper references.


Fiberglass Case Studies

Wiley InterScience :: Session Cookies = Pulmonary fibrosis in a carpenter with long-lasting exposure to fiberglass - Takahashi - 1998 - American Journal of Industrial Medicine - Wiley Online Library
Case study of carpenter who inhaled fiberglass unprotected for 41 years. Fibrosis, cystic lesions, and fiber deposition was noted. The authors conclude that this patient's heavy smoking history and long term exposure to fiberglass have contributed to pulmonary fibrosis. Fibers found had all broken down to short lengths, indicating the lung fluid was effective in breaking them down, but macrophages were not able to digest them. Cigarette smoking has an interactive relationship with fibers like asbestos-the asbestos worker who smokes has a much higher chance of developing lung cancer than does the non-smoker.

Clinical Pulmonary Medicine - Abstract: Volume 14(5) September 2007 p 296-301 Respiratory Disease and Fiberglass Exposure: Report of a Case and Review of the Literature. Respiratory Disease and Fiberglass Exposure: Report of a Cas... : Clinical Pulmonary Medicine
Describes a 23 year old with an unusual adverse reaction to fiberglass. It is noted that rare cases of pulmonary fibrosis, acute eosinophilic pneumonia, and sarcoidosis-like pulmonary disease have been described after exposure to fiberglass.

Elsevier Article Locator - Elsevier
Studying 50 cases of sarcoidosis, an immune system disorder, 28% of patients recalled exposure to fiberglass/rockwool. Findings suggest that in susceptible people, mineral deposition from MMVF exposure may contribute to immune issues.



OCCUPATIONAL FIBERGLASS/ROCKWOOL STUDIES

ATSDR - Toxicological Profile: Synthetic Vitreous Fibers - ATSDR - Redirect - Toxicological Profile: Synthetic Vitreous Fibers
The full version of the 2004 US Government review on synthetic vitreous fibers aka manmade vitreous fibers (MMVFs), the group to which rockwool and fiberglass belong. It summarizes all available knowledge on how the body react to these fibers and any associated risks in relatively layman friendly terms.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp161.pdf
One subsection of the above containing a referenced overview of all animal studies to date.
http://www.erj.ersjournals.com/cgi/r.../8/12/2149.pdf
A good review article of epidemiological studies following MMVF workers long term. No ill effects have been noted except minor fibrosis among ceramic fiber works. Ceramic fibers are a specialty product that is far more durable and dangerous than any form of fiberglass/rockwool. Neither rockwool nor fiberglass workers were noted to develop the same effect.

Historical cohort study of U.S. man-made vitreous ...[J Occup Environ Med. 2004] - PubMed Result - Historical cohort study of U.S. man-made vitreous ... [J Occup Environ Med. 2004] - PubMed result
Cohort sudy of 4008 women who were MMVF factory workers between 1945 and 1978. No elevated mortality or lung cancer has been observed.

Pasted from <http://www.gearslutz.com/board/bass-traps-acoustic-panels-foam-etc/347314-comparative-safety-rockwool-fiberglass-organic-fibers-review.html>
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:20 PM   #6
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So it looks like the common commercial fibers themselves may not be that bad, but the raw components of any polymer like that are bad news. The MSDS sheet you linked specified goggles, a small particulate and organic vapor respirator and ventilation, plus protective clothing, just as I described, minus requiring a forced air respirator.

When it comes to cancer and other longer-term dangers, there is a lot we still don't know. I personally take my own body's reaction to a hazard seriously, if it is bad. Smelling MEK and other such chemicals gives me an instant headache and putrid feeling that tells me it is in a much different class than anything I commonly encounter.

So, toxic is a fact, and I don't think evil is far off, unless you think I am using it in a literal, moral sense.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:38 PM   #7
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I think we'll have to agree to disagree about the relative danger of working with fiberglass. As it happens, the same PPE (respirator, gloves, eye protection) all appear on the MSDS sheet for... wood, whose dust IS a recognized carcinogen.

http://www.ufpi.com/literature/wooddust-165.pdf

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Old 01-03-2011, 09:37 PM   #8
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I guess so, along with the meaning of the word "protrude" and the meaning of making a claim that something is not toxic.
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