"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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CORRECTIVE MEASURE OPTIONS
If you know you have vermiculite-based insulation in your attic, take these precautionary steps:
- Do not allow children to play in the attic.
- Do not use the attic for storage.
- Use a face mask if you have to work in the attic.
- Contact an expert if renovations, involving the attic, are planned.
- Seal all holes and cracks. For example caulk around window and door frames, baseboards, light fixtures, electrical outlets and the attic hatch.




Loose-Fill Insulation - Vermiculite
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Vermiculite insulation. Vermiculite removal contractors.

WHAT IS VERMICULITE?
Vermiculite is a natural mineral that expands 8-12 times in volume with the application of heat. The mica-like mineral is fire-resistant and has good insulation qualities. Since the 1920s, vermiculite has been extracted from the Libby, Montana deposits. It was sold to homeowners under the name Zonolite. Mining operations on the Libby site stopped in the 1990s in response to asbestos contamination. While in operation, the Libby mine may have produced up to 80% of the world's supply of vermiculite. It is estimated that vermiculite was used in more than 35 million homes
WHERE CAN VERMICULITE BE FOUND IN THE HOME?
Vermiculite was mainly used for attic insulation in older homes. If the attic was insulated with vermiculite prior to 1990 it is most likely laced with asbestos. Vermiculite could also be hidden behind wall and floor boards.
Vermiculite is still used for loose fill insulation, packing material and in potting soil mixes.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECT OF VERMICULITE ON HEALTH?
Vermiculite insulation may contain amphibole asbestos fibres. These products can cause health risks if disturbed during maintenance, renovation or demolition.




Vermiculite insulation

However, there is currently no evidence of risk to your health if the insulation is sealed behind wallboard, floor boards, isolated in the attic, or otherwise kept from exposure to the interior environment.

An article published in the Salt Lake Tribune on December 3, 2006 reported that vermiculite and Zonolite (a brand of insulation made from vermiculite) has been found to contain asbestos which had led to cancers such as those found in asbestos related cases.
WARNING. Never attempt to remove vermiculite yourself. To find a qualified contractor in your area look under "Asbestos Abatement/Removal"

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