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Vermiculite Insulation Containing Asbestos

Some vermiculite insulation may contain asbestos fibers. These products can cause health risks if disturbed during maintenance, renovation or demolition. Vermiculite is a mica-like mineral mined around the world and used in a variety of commercial and consumer products because it is fire-resistant and has good insulation qualities. 

Of concern is vermiculite ore produced by the Libby Mine in Montana from the 1920's to 1990 containing asbestos. It was sold as ZonoliteŽ Attic Insulation and possibly other brands in Canada during that time. The Libby Mine supplied the majority of the world market in vermiculite-based insulation. Products made from vermiculite ore produced by the Libby Mine have not been on the market in Canada for more than 10 years. 

Not all vermiculite produced before 1990 contains asbestos fibers. However, to be safe and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to assume that if your building has older vermiculite-based insulation, it may contain some asbestos.

 Asbestos poses health risks only when fibers are present in the air that people breathe. Exposure to asbestos can affect you depends on the concentration of asbestos fibers in the air, how long and how often you were exposed, the size of the asbestos fibers inhaled and the amount of time since the initial exposure.

When inhaled in significant quantities, asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis (a scarring of the lungs which makes breathing difficult), mesothelioma (a rare cancer of the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity) and lung cancer. The link between exposure to asbestos and other types of cancers is less clear.

Insulation Example 2

Minimizing Your Risk

The best way to minimize your risk of asbestos exposure is to avoid disturbing vermiculite-based insulation in any way. If you are concerned that your home may contain vermiculite-based or you know you have vermiculite-based insulation in your attic, take these precautionary steps.

1. Do not allow children to play in an attic.

2. Make sure anyone working in the attic knows about the possible presence of asbestos.

3. Do not use the attic for storage it may disturb the insulation.

4.Common dust masks are not effective against asbestos fibers.

5. Seal all cracks and holes in the ceilings of the rooms below the insulation to prevent insulation sifting through.

6. Apply caulking around window and door frames, along baseboards and around electrical outlets.

If you have vermiculite-based insulation and you decide to  remodel or renovate in a manner that would disturb the vermiculite, to have it removed call 1-877-433-3473 our trained and qualified Asbestos removal Professionals will handle the insulation removal. " NEVER NEVER" attempt to remove the insulation yourself.

Workplace Health and Public Safety Program - Occupational Health and Safety Advisory - Vermiculite Insulation Containing Asbestos

Vermiculite Insulation Containing Asbestos - It's Your Health

Health Risks of Asbestos - It's Your Health

Consumer Product Safety Bureau, Safe Environments Program

Management of Toxic Substance Division, Safe Environments Program

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)


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