Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>Vermiculite Insulation, too late, already disturbed...Concerns???
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Re: Vermiculite Insulation, too late, already disturbed...Concerns???

We are encountering the same problem with undetected vermiculite at our house. We just had two air samples taken after its presence was detected on visual inspection. (We had an energy audit done that may have stirred things up, a ceiling fan installed - complete with hole drilled above daughters bed a few years ago, and, just today, the inspector also found a pile of vermiculite in an eave that we frequently store items in, also in a child's bedroom). We have the same concerns regarding resale, recourse against inspector or previous owners, etc., and of course exposure - especially to our little children. Since the vermiculite is also traveling down from the attic, it's possible it was also used in the walls or is there now after gravity brought it down, which may may a kitchen remodel even more tricky. At this point, we know installing central AC is out since we will probably leave it undisturbed for now.

So, my question to you is, what did you do; abate it? How do you feel today about the exposure or have you learned anything about limited exposure? From other posts, it seems like you are doing work on the house; did you have to do anything special due to the vermiculite? Did you take legal recourse against the inspector or the previous home owners with any results? Lots of questions. We are still in the freaking out stage.


Re: Vermiculite Insulation, too late, already disturbed...Concerns???

1% is 10000 ppm not 1000

Re: Vermiculite Insulation, too late, already disturbed...Concerns???

If it is the "Libby" stuff, you'll need to call an asbestos abatement company in to remove it- the law precludes DIY here. If it isn't "Libby" then you can remove it however you wish but I'd take all the same precautions doing that which asbestos abatement firms use. I'd also want a bare unoccupied house during that process to remove the chance of inadvertent dust exposure.

Vermiculite is a silicosis risk as well as an asbestos risk and your lungs are the most vulnerable body organ to this risk. With proper care you can DIY removal so long as you understand what you're dealing with and the correct way of doing it.


Re: Vermiculite Insulation, too late, already disturbed...Concerns???

First, what is the age of your vermiculite. They didn't begin using the mine which produced vermiculite with asbestos until 1922. I had some in my 1773 house, unfortunately while crawling around in the attic I found an old Zonolite bag, that is the bad stuff. There is supposed to be a mega millions fund established to pay for removal, nit sure of the current status of that.

Re: Vermiculite Insulation, too late, already disturbed...Concerns???

The PLM method reveals fibers or particles in the air, but as I understand, they may not actually be asbestos fibers. Another method, the TEM, method is more accurate to determine whether or not the fibers are asbestos fibers. I am going through the same discovery myself. We have this insulation in the attic of a home we just bought. We were hoping to turn the attic into a second bathroom, since it's level with our bedrooms upstairs, but not sure about how to go about that now....

This is where I got the info about the testing:


Re: Vermiculite Insulation, too late, already disturbed...Concerns???

I did something similar to what you did and got very concerned for my health, so I did some research. It seems the only way it really hurts you is if you deal with industrial quantities of it day in and day out. Like if you are installing it in a non-ventilated hold in a ship for years/decades. I don't think exposure to trace amounts with a dust mask on is a big deal. You probably have breathed more of it driving down a gravel road than you did in your attic.

So I wouldn't worry about your health any more. If you are worried about how it will affect resale, ask some Realtors, they will know.

And contact lawyers if you think the seller was hiding it from you, because that's a no no.

Re: Vermiculite Insulation, too late, already disturbed...Concerns???

These litigious days, there's more to it than a seller just 'hiding' something- there is what is called 'reasonable expectation' involved which is based on whether an average person would have seen signs indicating a possible problem but the seller simply ignored them. In that case the seller is still liable even though they had no direct knowledge of a specific problem Of course, if there were recognizable signs of a potential problem a home or mortgage bank inspection should certainly have caught them, but with most of those firms your contract has a 'hold harmless' clause for missed items, leaving you to hope your lawyer can win a civil claim based on 'reasonable expectation' alone. You'll be hard pressed to prove a seller hid something on purpose.

It's still "Caveat Emptor" whether all roads lead to Rome these days or not!



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