What You Should Know About Vermiculite Asbestos
Vermiculite is a material used in attic and wall insulation, it is not a fiber similar to asbestos, but rather a mica like mineral which is fire resistant and applied as a pour-in product and is more often than not been contaminated by asbestos. Vermiculite has on many occasions been damaged and due to the asbestos contamination needs to be addressed. Asbestos releases dust and fibers into the air whereas vermiculite does not, however unless you remove it from your home or office, then it would be a wise decision to seal it, as the vermiculite may have been contaminated with asbestos.
Should your decision be to not remove the vermiculite insulation or any asbestos contaminated insulation, then do everything possible to ensure that the vermiculite insulation or even asbestos tiles or asbestos insulation remains undisturbed. Seal all areas in the house where dust could penetrate to prevent any vermiculite insulation or residue or asbestos dust from penetrating the interior of the building. Check the air-conditioning unit and heating system if it is located in the attic to ensure that they are not contributing to the levels of contamination in the building should there be any. Testing your vermiculite insulation for asbestos contamination is a very costly exercise, so you would not be wrong to assume that the vermiculite has been contaminated by asbestos and treat it as such. Try and avoid contaminating the house with dust from the attic or avoid ever entering the attic. Vermiculite insulation can safely be left in place if it is undamaged.
Generally speaking the removal of vermiculite insulation and especially if it is contaminated by asbestos, is a project to be undertaken by a licensed professional. The removal of vermiculite insulation and of asbestos contaminated products has to be carried out within the parameters of the federal rules and regulations. Inhalation of the dust created by damaged vermiculite insulation and possibly contaminated by asbestos is a leading cause of lung cancer, eye infections and severe skin rashes. A licensed professional will conduct an air pollution test after the removal of the vermiculite insulation is complete, to ensure that there is no contaminated pollution in the building or home.
The guidelines for doing it yourself, once you have obtained the relevant government permits, is to purchase the correct protective clothing and asbestos disposal bags.
As with asbestos removal you need to purchase a full protective body suit, shoes, goggles and gloves. Do bear in mind that these items cannot be reused, they have to be bagged and disposed of once you have removed them.
Due to the general contamination of the vermiculite insulation by asbestos, the same principles would apply to the process of removing the vermiculite insulation. All protective clothing, vermiculite insulation residue and cleaning cloths have to be double bagged and disposed of at a site designated for disposal of hazardous waste and asbestos.
You also need to ensure that as you break up the vermiculite insulation, you bag all removed vermiculite insulation, and also seal all areas where the vermiculite insulation dust may penetrate or seep into a ventilation or heating system of the house or office.