Here are some tips to keep your home safe from asbestos-laced vermiculite:
Is Your Home Safe?
First you need to determine if your home contains vermiculite. Not all vermiculite is the same. The ore from Libby, Montana, contains tremolite asbestos, a particularly toxic form of asbestos. Vermiculite from other locations usually contains little or no asbestos. Only an expert can determine whether your vermiculite is safe.
Vermiculite is made into many household and construction products and materials. The most common are attic insulation, which looks like a pebbly kitty litter, and ceiling and sound proofing tiles. Other uses are plaster and garden supplies.
Vermiculite materials are found mostly in older homes built in the 50s, 60's, 70s and early 80's.
What To Do If You Think It Is in Your Home?
The kitty litter texture is the most likely indicator. Do not disturb the material. Call a certified industrial hygienist or home inspector who will run EPA-approved testing.
If your home is determined to contain asbestos-tainted vermiculite, there are two primary remedies. The first is to encapsulate the insulation with a spray-on coating, which seals in the insulation from above. Even afterward, there may be ways for asbestos fibers to enter your home through light sockets or ceiling openings, such as ceiling fans.
The second is to have the insulation completely removed. This is costly, as much as $30,000, and could mean that your home would have to remain unoccupied during clean up.
Fiberglass insulation, the cotton candy-like material, almost never contains asbestos, and is safe.
You can learn more about asbestos and vermiculite by visiting the EPA at www.epa.gov/asbestos.