Vermiculite Q & A

How does vermiculite work?

Vermiculite is a volcanic substance that expands when it is heated. It also is unique in that it has the characteristic of expanding into worm-like or accordion-like fragments. They typically have the size of dime or nickel. Vermiculite has been employed in many industries for more than years. It is utilized in the construction agriculture, horticultural, agricultural industries and in the construction market.

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Where can you find vermiculite reserve?

Vermiculite can be found all over the globe. Countries with commercial mines of vermiculite include Australia, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United States. The vermiculite available commercially currently comes from deposits that aren’t considered to be harmful.

What kind of vermiculite can be considered dangerous?

Over 70 percent of the vermiculite extracted in the world comes directly from the Libby mine which has been shut from 1990. The Libby mine was unique due to the fact that it also contained an unnatural deposit of asbestos tremolite. This meant that a lot of the vermiculite found in that Libby mine was contaminated by Tremolite asbestos. According to the experts this is a hazardous form of asbestos that is 10 times more carcinogenic than the more common chrysotile asbestos. The vermiculite was offered with the trade label Zonolite Attic Insulation.

What exactly do you know if W.R. Grace Co. associated with this issue?

W.R. Grace bought the vermiculite mine in Libby in 1963 from the Zonolite Company. The mine contained more than 1.5 billion pounds worth of ore contaminated with contaminant was delivered to processing plants across Canada. Between a third and a one-half of the vermiculite produced by the mine was used as insulation for attics from the 1940s to 1984, when the sale through the company was stopped.

Was Zonolite extensively employed?

According to documents provided by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the EPA estimates that between 15 to 35 million U.S. homes and businesses were insulated using Zonolite. Documents indicate that around one-tenth of the product produced by Libby was transported to Canada. It was also on the list of materials eligible that the Federal government could use for its Canadian Home Insulation Program (CHIP) which granted grants to homeowners starting in 1977 until the mid-1980s.

What should I do if I’ve got Zonolite Insulation?

Beware of it. If it’s not disposed of inside the attic space, the risk will be no danger in the least. The asbestos fibers must be airborne for inhalation. When you inhale asbestos fibers into your lungs you are more likely to developing health issues.

The fibers may get caught within the lungs and cause mesothelioma and lung cancer an illness of the lung’s liner. The risk is related to exposure. The risk increases when you engage in actions that result in you getting in your attic, such as the storage of boxes, and anything else that can alters the structure will result in airborne fibres within minutes.

Based on the U.S. EPA, there are instances of people who developed asbestosis as a result of several or five contact with the insulation substance. Tradespeople are more at risk.

What happens if I’m remodeling?

If you’re doing work in your attic like Vermiculite removal, plumbing or rewiring, consider Zonolite to be an asbestos-containing material. It is recommended to wear a respirator and change your clothing. You must ensure the asbestos doesn’t spread into other parts within your home. It is suggested to employ an asbestos-safe contractor equipped to handle asbestos.

How do I proceed if think I’ve Zonolite within my loft?

Don’t let children play around the area. Don’t sweep off the Zonolite as well as use a standard vacuum cleaner. The harmful fibers that can remain within the atmosphere for several days. Vacuum cleaners are available available on the market with extremely delicate HEPA filters that can remove the fibers.

My home insulation looks like vermiculite. What can I do to tell if it’s Zonolite and not Libby?

It’s hard to tell simply by looking at it. Most often, empty Zonolite Kraft bags of paper were found on the roof. If the bags reveal that the material has been processed at WR Grace Canada, Grant Industries or F. Hyde and Co the product could be originated from Libby and could be to be contaminated. If you are aware that there’s vermiculite insulation in your walls or attic and you’re worried regarding it, then it is logical to test the insulation to determine whether it’s made of asbestos.

Do I have the ability to test the material by myself?

If you’d like to have an analysis of your sample it is recommended to hire a qualified professional or contractor take the samples and get them examined in a lab. There are a variety of consulting firms who can perform this type of asbestos analysis.

Based on Bruce Stewart from Pinchin Environmental in Mississauga there must be several samples taken as asbestos levels can differ between one piece of vermiculite and another. Furthermore, specialists must be looking for signs of asbestos, even less than 0.1 percent in a weight-to-weight ratio. A concentration that is less than 0.1 percent is thought to be to be safe. Vermiculite, however, is extremely brittle and may release a significant amount of asbestos fibres into the air, even when the amount of asbestos is considered to be extremely low.

If asbestos is present within the insulation do I need to be able to get it removed?

Before making that decision homeowners should take into consideration several aspects. The first is that removing asbestos-containing material is usually very costly. If a large amount of materials is involved, it’ll likely cost thousands of dollars.

In addition, because of the physical properties of vermiculite, there’s little possibility that the material is leaking in the air. If the insulation isn’t accessible to the environment of the home (for example, it’s encased behind floorboards and wallboards, or in an isolated attic, which is vented to the outside) the best recommendation is to leave the area alone.

However, if you own an existing house that requires to be upgraded or you are using the attic space to store your belongings, you are exposed every time you visit the attic and you risk spreading the virus throughout your home. In these situations, you’re better off taking it off, says that the U.S. EPA. To avoid conflicts of interest make sure the insulation is tested by one company, and removed by a different. Make sure you verify the credentials of the people you employ.

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