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Does My Vermiculite Contain Asbestos?

October 8, 2020

Vermiculite, in its pure state, is sterile, nontoxic, and odorless. This naturally-occurring crystalline mineral is lightweight, flat, and shiny. When exposed to intense temperature or around 1000 degrees Celsius, it expands 8-30 times the original size. The expanded form looks like layered golden brown worms that are low-density, fire retardant, and absorbent. These characteristics make vermiculite an ideal additive for horticulture settings, fireproofing, and insulating attics or walls. Over the years, it has become a popular material for potting soil, fertilization, and building insulation.


When does vermiculite become a danger to your health?

This mineral becomes a threat when it is contaminated with asbestos. However, if the insulation is not disturbed, the damaging effect of asbestos can be contained. It only becomes a danger when asbestos fibers are released into the air. Once disturbed, asbestos releases microscopic fibers that are 1,200 times thinner than your hair. When they are trapped in the lining or tissues of the lungs, they can cause scarring.

Ingesting or inhaling them increases the risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other respiratory diseases that occur later in life. Like any other health hazards, the degree, frequency, and length of exposure are significant factors to the risk. Until today, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.

If you think that you are accidentally exposed, seek medical attention. The asbestos fibers are not detected in chest X-rays, but the early symptoms can be mitigated to prevent serious health problems. Your doctor may also recommend high-resolution CAT scans and other lung function tests to detect changes in the lungs.

 There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Ingesting or inhaling increases the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other respiratory diseases that occur later in life.

How will I know if my house has vermiculite insulation?

Asbestos fibers cannot be seen by the naked eye. Only trained laboratory technicians can determine the presence of these harmful fibers.

If you are living in an old house or recently bought one, it is possible that it has vermiculite insulation. Although not all vermiculites are contaminated by asbestos, there is a big possibility of real danger if it is sourced from the mine in Libby, Montana. Vermiculite materials that are distributed under the brand Zonolite were discovered to contain Tremolite-Actinolite asbestos fibers.

The mine operated from the 1920s up to the 1990s and was one of the biggest suppliers of vermiculite in the world. Its close location to asbestos deposits exposed the mineral to contamination, leading to numerous deaths of Libby residents and the occurrence of asbestos-related illnesses.


What will I do if I discover vermiculite insulation?

Step 1

If you believe your property has areas with vermiculite insulation, do not disturb it! This is the first rule that you should bear in mind. Leaving it undisturbed will prevent the harmful effects that it can cause to you and your family’s health. It is vital to stay out of the area to reduce exposure. Limiting activities that can disturb the insulation will minimize the threat. Moreover, wearing a dust mask does not protect you from asbestos fibers.

Step 2

Limit the exposure by not going to the attic to store or retrieve items until such time that you become sure that the vermiculite insulation does not contain asbestos. If you have children who are fond of playing there, it is best to tell them about the potential danger.

Step 3

Do not try to remove the insulation. It may endanger your health and increase the risk of getting lung disease. If you smoke, you are in greater danger. It is also possible that insulation material falls through the cracks and contaminates the entire house. Cut down the risk by sealing holes and cracks near the area.

Step 4

There are also cases where the air ventilation system disturbs the insulation, causing asbestos fibers to get through the living areas. If you want to ensure safety, hire a service contractor to monitor the indoor air quality. The health department also recommends getting a service company specializing in asbestos remediation to collect samples and have them tested.

RidAway is here to the rescue!

We, at RidAway, provide practical solutions to your insulation problem. We are a certified and licensed service contractor with well-trained vermiculite specialists who can help you eliminate the harmful insulation material from your home.

Asbestos abatement requires professional knowledge, proper techniques, and modern tools and equipment. Our team has proper training and state certificates to handle the removal process and restore the cleanliness of the air in your home. We adhere to the local, state, and federal regulations to guarantee safe operation.

To start, we will first conduct a visual inspection of the area and take samples for laboratory analysis. The test will determine if the insulation material has asbestos content. If the result shows positive, our specialist will recommend encapsulation or total removal of the materials. Encapsulation can be done if there is no huge risk of exposure. It entails sealing the area with a sealant to prevent the contaminated fibers from becoming airborne threats. If there is a clear indication of high exposure or the damage is extensive, we will recommend complete removal to safeguard everyone’s health.

After your approval, we will immediately make a plan to remove the life-threatening vermiculite material. Our RidAway technicians wear PPEs, full-face mask respirators, and other safety gear to prevent the risk of inhaling the asbestos fibers. We will turn off all HVAC units and seal the vents to ensure their containment in the area. All waste materials are placed inside leak-proof containers, and our team diligently follows the protocols of dumping them. We use HEPA filter vacuums and follow regulated methods to clean the area, leaving your entire home safe and sanitized.

And there’s more! After having us remove your asbestos insulation, you can have us replace it with safe insulation for free!  We will insulate the area at no cost on your part to let enjoy a healthy and energy-efficient living home. Our offer is for a limited period only, so don’t miss this great opportunity. Call us now and book our service to get rid of your concerns at once. RidAway will help keep your home clean, safe, and secured!

Restore your home with RidAway! Call 781-358-8880 or contact us today for a free asbestos removal consultation. RidAway is ready as you are!

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