By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
In the fall of 2012, New Jersey Gov.
Chris Christie was asked about the state’s drought.
“I think the water crisis has really gotten out of hand,” he said.
Christie added, “I do think that fiberglass is going to be an amazing thing.”
In a video released on March 25, 2012, Christie and New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino touted the state-of-the-art technology that they say will keep water out of Newark’s water system.
“It will be so much more durable than the plastic and the cardboard,” Christie said.
“And it’s going to last much longer than the paper that you see in stores.”
Christie and Porrinos claim that their new construction technology is 100% waterproof.
They even cite studies that support the claims.
But are they really 100% sure?
And can fiberglass actually hold water?
Let’s look at the facts.
As far as we know, there is no scientific research to support fiberglass’s claims of being 100% water-resistant.
The only studies that have looked at the properties of fiberglass are published by a few companies, including DuPont.
But DuPont’s claims are generally made based on studies done in laboratories and other testing facilities, where they are designed to be reproducible.
In other words, studies designed to give scientists the best information possible.
This is known as reproducibility.
There are no independent, peer-reviewed, independent studies that test fiberglass and compare it to similar materials.
And while there are some reports of tests that show fiberglass to be water-resilient, they are limited and do not provide the type of detail that would be used in testing.
Some studies that do look at fiberglass show that it doesn’t hold water well.
For example, a study of fibers from a water-wasting plant that DuPont had built at the company’s Lakeland, Florida, plant found that the fibers could hold water for about a year, but the fibers would break down over time.
In another study, a fiberglass fiber was tested for water resistance.
The researchers found that, in the presence of high levels of chlorine, fiberglass was able to hold water.
But the study didn’t look at whether the fibers held enough water to withstand the chlorine.
A paper published in 2013, however, found that fiberglas fiberglass fibers were about as water- and chlorine-resistant as polyester fibers.
So while some of the studies have suggested that fiberglys water-repellent properties are not so strong as polyesters, the science is not conclusive.
“There is no good data to support the claim that fiberboard is 100 percent water-absorbent,” said Michael B. Smith, a materials science professor at Indiana University who has written about water-storing properties of fibers.
“A lot of the testing that has been done says that fiberboarding is only about 5 percent as water repellent as polyethylene.”
The most recent paper, published in the journal Nature Communications in January 2018, looked at fiberboard fibers, finding that fibers can hold water up to eight days in the laboratory.
That’s far better than the five-day water repelling properties of polyester and polyethylenes, but not enough to guarantee that fiberboards are truly 100 percent waterproof.
“I have to say, I’m not convinced that the claim of 100 percent fiberboard as being 100 percent non-water repellant is accurate,” Smith said.
It is difficult to prove that fiber boards are 100 percent 100 percent and that they will hold water long-term.
“Most of the tests that are done for water repeal of fiberboards say they are about 5-10 percent water repelled,” Smith added.
In some cases, the water repeleting properties of the fiberboard have been compared to those of a plastic or rubber coating.
But this is a small test of a product and is not enough.
“If the fiber board is used for the type and quantity of work that is used in homes and offices, then that is the kind of work it should be used for,” Smith explained.
The problem with the claims of fiberboard being water-absorbing is that there are no studies that measure fiberboard’s water-retrieval properties.
“In most of the water-related applications that fiber is used to replace, water is not an issue,” Smith concluded.
“The fiberboard used for this work, however … it does not hold water in the long term.”
How does fiberglass hold water to begin with?
Most of the fibers used to build fiberboard are polyethylenimine (PE) fibers.
These are commonly used in buildings and other structures, where the water can be easily lost through leaks.
But they are also used to create fiberglass, which can be used to make any material.
So what does it take to make fiberglass?
Polyethylene is a plastic that is typically