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Vermiculite insulation and Asbestos


Vermiculite insulation may contain asbestos and is therefore considered a health and environmental concern. Testing and possible removal is the best course of action, besides not disturbing the settled insulation.

 

Category: Safety
Posted by: nookncranny
What is vermiculite insulation?
Vermiculite insulation is a mined material that is silver-gold or brownish in color and when it is heated to over 1,000 degrees C, it puffs up, and because it does not burn, it made an ideal insulating material.

Is all vermiculite insulation a hazard?
No, not all is considered hazardous. The concern is primarily with vermiculite mined from the Libby mines, in Montana, where asbestos fibres were later found in the material.

Where is it found?
Many older homes built before 1970 had vermiculite mostly added to the attic but sometimes the wall cavities were also filled, to improve overall energy savings and comfort in the home.

What do I do if I have it?
The first thing would be not to disturb the insulation, such as walking in the attic or storing items in the space. Then your next step could be to have samples taken by a qualified professional and sent to a lab to determine if the insulation you have contains asbestos or not. If the results indicate that the insulation is NOT asbestos containing, I suggest that you keep the lab results in a safe place, as proof of testing should you wish to sell, or have work performed in the vicinity.

If the insulation tested proves to be positive for asbestos, then there are a few options available to you: First and most important: Never remove the insulation yourself. This is a potentially hazardous material that could lead to serious health issues if not handled or removed properly! I recommend that it is removed by a qualified professional and replaced with upgraded insulation.
Other steps to take could include the following: Seal the ceiling penetrations from the house side of the space, such as lighting fixtures and any cracks or holes in the ceilings. Do not store items in the attic. 

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Last Edited: 02/05/2017