Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vermiculite Insulation


What it is

Vermiculite is a mica like mineral mined around the world and used in variety of commercial and consumer products because of its fire resistance and good insulating properties.

What it problem

Some vermiculite insulation may contain amphibole asbestos fibres. These can cause health risks if disturbed during maintenance, renovation or demolition. The vermiculite of concern is basically which is mined by the Libby mine in Montana from 1920 - 1990. It was sold as Zonolite attic insulation and possibly other brands. Vermiculite from Libby mine may contain amphibole asbestos. Vermiculite insulation from the Libby mine was not used widely after mid 1980 and were not sold in Canada after 1990. Not all vermiculite insulation produced before 1990 contains asbestos. However, if the building is old and contains vermiculite insulation than it should be tested in the lab for asbestos to be safe.

What can be Done

There is mostly no danger or health  risk if the insulation is sealed behind wallboards and floorboards, isolated in an attic, or otherwise kept from exposure to the interior environment. The overall percentage of amphibole asbestos is very less in bulk vermiculite but they can increase the material is disturbed.

If there is vermiculite insulation in your attic take following precautions!

1. Avoid disturbing Vermiculite insulation.

2. Don't allow children to play in the attic and inform anyone working in the   attic about vermiculite insulation.

3. do not use attic for storage.

4. Avoid going and moving in attic if required use walk on boards.

5. Use respirator masks only and not dust masks.

6. If you decide to remove the vermiculite insulation or remodel / renovate your house use certified and qualified contractor trained in its removal only. Never try to remove it yourself.

7. Seal all cracks and holes in the ceilings of rooms below the insulation i.e apply caulking around light fixtures and attic hatch to prevent insulation sifting through.
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