How to Handle Vermiculite Insulation - Safety Precautions

Vermiculite insulation, also known as vermiculite and asbestos insulation, is a type of mineral that has been used for years in homes across the United States. Homes built before 1990 may have vermiculite insulation installed when they were constructed. Vermiculite is only used sparingly now and rarely in new homes. Older homes do contain vermiculite. Vermiculite (and asbestos) was originally installed in the United States from just one mine in Montana. As a result, some asbestos may be mixed in with vermiculite. This article features safety precautions to follow regarding vermiculate insulations.

Is Vermiculite Insulation Safe?

Vermiculite insulation alone can be safe to use; however, it is essential to note that it is usually mixed with asbestos, posing a health threat.

There are many risks associated with vermiculite insulation. These include breathing in the material or ingesting it through your mouth since you might not know if there was any asbestos present when the homes were built. The Centers for Disease Control have analyzed both vermiculite and asbestos to determine the levels of risk. You must know if your home has vermiculite insulation before taking any action whatsoever to avoid potential health risks.

Vermiculite insulation might be safe to use if it has been checked for the presence of asbestos or if you are willing to take a risk. However, since this is an older form of insulation, it is rarely ever used. Also, newer homes (built after 1990) most likely do not contain this insulation material. Still, you have to be sure.

Health Threats Associated With Vermiculite Insulation

– If the vermiculite contains asbestos, breathing it in can lead to severe lung diseases. This includes asbestosis, mesothelioma, or cancer of the lungs. The risk is most significant if you work with this material regularly and spend a lot of time around it (such as construction workers). 

– Even if the vermiculite does not contain asbestos, there can still be a potential health threat associated with this insulation. Breathing in these fibers could lead to irritation of the lungs and possible long-term effects on your respiratory system (such as pulmonary fibrosis).

– When you touch or brush up against this material, it breaks up and becomes airborne. This can lead to a health hazard as you inhale it into your lungs, not to mention an allergy headache or asthma attack if you are allergic.

– There is no safe level of vermiculite exposure because the fibers in this product do not dissolve like other types of insulation materials (such as fiberglass).

How To Handle Vermiculite Insulation

If your home contains vermiculite insulation, the first thing to do is call the professionals to handle it. You might need to contact the professionals to check and be sure of its presence or absence in the first place. 

If they find it is present, they will also check for the presence of asbestos.

You can install new insulation over vermiculite insulation, but this has to be handled by professionals. It is not something for Do-It-Yourselfers.

If you, instead, prefer to have it eradicated from your home, you should also allow the professionals to handle it. If it contains asbestos, an asbestos abatement professional will be required to manage its removal from your home.

Warning: Do not attempt to remove or install any insulation over it yourself.

At A1 Home Insulation, we have qualified professionals ready to handle your vermiculite installations and install new insulation where possible.


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