Vermiculite Q & A

Vermiculite Q & A

What is vermiculite?

Vermiculite is a volcanic material compound that expands when it's heated and has the unusual property of expanding into worm-like or accordion-like pieces. They are normally the size of a nickel or dime. Vermiculite has been used in varied industries for more than 80 years. It's used within the construction, agricultural, horticultural and industrial markets.

The place are vermiculite reserves?

Vermiculite is found all through the world. Nations that hold commercial vermiculite mines embrace Australia, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United States. The vermiculite commercially available at the moment comes from deposits that are not considered harmful.

What brand of vermiculite is harmful?

More than 70 per cent of the vermiculite ore mined in the world got here from the Libby mine, which has been closed since 1990. This specific mine was unusual because the world also included a pure deposit of tremolite asbestos. Consequently, a lot of the vermiculite from the Libby mine was contaminated with tremolite asbestos. In accordance with specialists, it's a very toxic type of asbestos, 10 instances as carcinogenic because the more prevalent chrysotile asbestos. That vermiculite was sold below the brand name Zonolite Attic Insulation.

How is W.R. Grace Co. concerned in this issue?

W.R. Grace purchased the vermiculite packaging mine in Libby in 1963 from the Zonolite Company. More than 1.5 billion pounds of uncooked contaminated ore was despatched to processing vegetation across Canada. From a third to a half of the vermiculite from this mine was sold as attic insulation from the Forties till 1984, when its sale by the company was discontinued.

Was Zonolite broadly used?

In keeping with documents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Company (EPA), between 15 and 35 million U.S. homes and businesses have been insulated with Zonolite. Paperwork show about one tenth of the manufacturing from Libby was shipped to Canada. It was even on the checklist of eligible supplies for the federal authorities's Canadian Dwelling Insulation Program (CHIP), a program that offered grants to owners from 1977 to the mid-1980s.

What if I've Zonolite insulation?

Avoid it. If it is left untouched within the attic, there ought to be minimal or no danger at all. The asbestos fibres have to be airborne to be inhaled. Every time you breathe asbestos fibres into your lungs, you increase the prospect of growing health problems.

The fibres can turn into trapped in the lungs and may cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lungs' lining. The danger is linked to exposure. It turns into risky is when you may have activities that convey you up within the attic, like storing boxes, anything that disturb the material will cause airborne fibres nearly immediately.

In keeping with the U.S. EPA, there are cases of individuals who bought asbestosis from four or 5 vital contacts with the insulation material. Tradesman face a higher risk.

What if I am renovating?

In case you are doing work within the attic your self, similar to transforming, plumbing or rewiring, you should deal with Zonolite as asbestos-containing material. It's best to put on a proper respirator and change your clothes. You need to make sure the fibres will not spread it to different areas of your home. It is suggested to hire a contractor who is correctly equipped to work with asbestos.

What should I do if I think I've Zonolite in my attic?

Don't let children play in the area. Do not sweep the Zonolite or use a normal vacuum cleaner. This will re-flow into the harmful fibres, which might linger in the air for days. There are vacuum cleaners on the market that come with highly delicate HEPA filters that can capture the fibres.

My residence insulation seems like vermiculite. How do I do know it s Zonolite from Libby?

It is inconceivable to tell just by taking a look at it. Often, empty Zonolite kraft paper bags were left within the attic. If the bags show that ore was processed by WR Grace Canada, Grant Industries or F. Hyde and Co, the product is probably from Libby and is probably going contaminated. If you understand you have vermiculite insulation in your attic or walls and you're concerned about it, it most likely is sensible to test the material to see if it accommodates asbestos.

Can I test the material myself?

If you wish to have a pattern analyzed, it is advised that you simply hire a trained consultant or contractor to gather the pattern and get it analyzed at a laboratory. There are quite a few consulting companies that carry out this type of asbestos analysis work.

In line with Bruce Stewart from Pinchin Environmental in Mississauga, there needs to be several samples taken since asbestos concentration might fluctuate from one vermiculite piece to another. Additionally, specialized consultants should be in search of traces of asbestos, even beneath 0.1 per cent on a weight-to-weight basis. Usually a focus of less than 0.1 per cent is considered safe. But vermiculite is extremely friable and can launch a very high number of asbestos fibres within the air when disturbed even if the focus of asbestos is considered very low.

If there may be asbestos within the insulation, should I have it eliminated?

Before taking that step, householders ought to consider a number of factors. First, removing asbestos-containing supplies is typically very expensive. If a major amount of fabric is involved, it will most likely costs 1000's of dollars.

Secondly, due to the bodily traits of vermiculite, there's a low potential the fabric is moving into the air. If the insulation is not uncovered to the house atmosphere (for example, it is sealed behind wallboards and floorboards or is isolated within the attic which is vented outside) one of the best advice could be to leave it alone.
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