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Vermiculite Insulation

Date Added: February 13, 2012 08:08:25 AM
Author: rhiannonvdm
Category: Asbestos Testing

Vermiculite Insulation (With Asbestos Content)



            Vermiculite  is a mineral that occurs naturally, and is made up on flakes which expand to a fire resistant, light weight material that is used in a variety of insulation products around the world. The mineral itself, in its purest form, is not typically harmful. However, if it was found within a mine that also contained asbestos, the insulation that is filled with vermiculite can be unsafe for both you and your family. Therefore, if you have vermiculite insulation in your home, it's best to hire a professional to come out and inspect it to verify whether or not it contains asbestos.


            Why is vermiculite insulation often thought to be contaminated? It's important to stress that not all vermiculite insulation is contaminated with asbestos. However, you should assume that the vermiculite insulation in your home does have asbestos content, unless it is proven otherwise. Vermiculite is not a toxic material, but vermiculite that is mined along with asbestos is highly toxic. A perfect example of this is the case of Libby, Montana mine in the United States. While in active operation, from 1919 to 1990, the mine there supplied the world with 80% of its vermiculite. There was also a concentration of asbestos there as well, which served to contaminate the entire supply of the normally safe mineral. Unbeknownst to most of the world at that time, this insulation being placed in the walls and attics of homes across the globe now had the potential to seriously harm anyone who came in contact with it.


            What are the dangers of vermiculte insulation with asbestos content? Asbestos, though widely used in insulations throughout Australia for decades, has now come to forefront as a major health risk. It can cause cancer, diseases of the lung, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Asbestos can even cause tumors and greatly increase the chances of lung cancer in smokers. The risk of being diagnosed with these medical condtions increases depending upon how long you've been exposed to the asbestos and the severity of your exposure.


            What to do if you suspect that your vermiculite insulation has asbestos content. If you think that this might be the case, then do not disturb the insulation under any circumstances. Doing so might cause the asbestos particles to become airborne, thereby increasing the risk of it harming you and your family. Instead, hire a trained professional to inspect it for you, as they have ways of doing so which will minimalize the risk. It's usually best to leave the vermiculite insulation right where it is. If you are going to renovate your home though, you will most definitely need to have a professional take care of its removal.


            Vermiculite insulation that contains asbestos should be treated as a health risk, and handled only by a professional. Do not attempt to open your walls to verify whether or not is is contaminated, or try to remove it on your own. Asbestos can cause a variety of health problems, so it's best to avoid contact with it at all times, and refrain from disturbing it.