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vermiculite in home

Toronto Vermiculite Removal

Vermiculite is a natural material that expands when heated. It has a huge variety of uses from a soil conditioner to high temperature insulation for piping. Its properties make it an excellent insulation material and has been used in attics for many years.

Vermiculite

The two minerals are both natural and often found together. One of the primary places that it was mined was Libby, Montana. Unfortunately, the vermiculite was heavily contaminated with tremolite asbestos (a very toxic form) and as the mine began operations in the 1920’s, no safety regulations were in place. This mine may have produced over 80% of the vermiculite supply in the world and continued to operate into the 1990’s. The vermiculite from this mine has been used in many, many homes throughout the United States and Canada.

This is not a reason to panic if you find that your attic has vermiculite in it. One important aspect of asbestos contamination that is often lost is that asbestos is safe as long as it does not become airborne. Once in the air, it can easily be breathed in and can do damage to the delicate tissues of the lungs. If the asbestos contaminated vermiculite is not disturbed, it will be safe. However, as is often the case, attics are used for storage and the material is disturbed, thus leading to possible airborne asbestos fibres.

While it’s not a good idea to panic about the vermiculite, neither is it a good idea to leave it in the attic. There are many better modern methods and insulation materials that can be used in place of vermiculite. So even if you aren’t concerned about the asbestos problem, replacing the vermiculite with a better insulation will save you money on your home heating bills.

vermiculite 2

The first step when you suspect that you have vermiculite is to confirm that the material is, in fact, vermiculite. It is a light beige or grey material and often has a hexagonal shaped shaft made of many paper thin layers. Once you have determined that you do have vermiculite, the next step is to have it tested for asbestos contamination (remember, not all vermiculite has asbestos in it). If it turns out that your vermiculite does have a high level of contamination, the best course of action would be to have it removed.

Sick Building Solutions provides services to help you through this procedure. We help our clients identify what type of insulation they have as well as test the material for asbestos contamination. We also offer removal and re-insulation services to ensure that your home is both comfortable and asbestos free. Call us today for an estimate.