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Vermiculite close to Bedrooms

My husband and I purchased a house built around 1900, almost 2 years ago. We've just had someone in to do an energy efficiency audit for us, and learned the particulars about vermiculite and asbestos. Our third floor is partially finished (2 bedrooms), and there is vermiculite in the eaves accessed through each of those bedrooms, also in the attic crawl space, and the walls. We've not had it tested for asbestos, as I've read that the testing can be unreliable. We're aware that if it's undisturbed it should not be a problem; however we've used the eaves quite a bit for storage, and the vermiculite constantly falls to the floor (the plastic holding it in is mostly stable for now but I've still vacuumed up several piles of it as it keeps re-appearing). We've had a squirrel problem in the eaves as well, so the vermiculite has been somewhat disturbed. My husband has also done a couple of projects that involved exposing the vermiculite in the walls.

I'm looking for feedback about how safe our current situation is. My sons sleep in the third floor bedrooms, and I am extremely worried about potential exposure. Removal is not an option, as we have limited funds toward any projects. The boys sleep a few feet away from the doors to the eaves, and I am really not a risk taker. Does it sound like I need to move them to the 2nd floor, or is the risk minimal? We don't know if we should consider our finished 3rd floor space useable at this point. Thanks for any input!

Re: Vermiculite close to Bedrooms

I've never heard of asbestos testing to be unreliable if done by a reputable company. If it does contain asbestos either do not disturb it or have it abated. Mesothelioma for you or your child years from now is a false economy.

Re: Vermiculite close to Bedrooms
BeezMom wrote:

Removal is not an option, as we have limited funds

Welcome to life, where sometimes you have no decent options. But take heart- only the vermiculite from the Libby quarry is hazardous, though it matched the output of the other 3 major vermiculite mines so you've got about a 50-50 chance that is needs to be removed ASAP. Like mercury, this stuff stays with you once it gets inside so any risk is too big a risk to take with younger people who will be exposed to god-knows-what for a long time to come. They deserve every chance you can give them.

The vermiculite tests are very accurate and reliable. As light and dusty as all vermiculite is, it should be part of your long-term goals to contain or remove it anyway, as even the 'safe' kinds aren't terribly good for your lungs (silicosis). I'm not a safety nut over these kinds of things (as reading my posts will show) but with some things you simply cannot take chances.


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