Once a year while we are out performing home inspections in Birmingham we come across something called Vermiculite insulation. Vermiculite insulation is a type of insulation used in residential houses to insulate ceilings and walls. We do not come across this type of insulation but it is important when we do find it.
Vermiculite is a mineral that was mined in Libby Montana and was then turned into the lightweight insulation product that was used in homes. The Libby Montana mine also had a deposit of asbestos. So the insulation that came from the Libby, Montana mine became contaminated with asbestos. Unfortunately, the Libby Montana mine was the source of over 70 percent of all vermiculite insulation. The brand name that was often associated with vermiculite insulation is called Zonolite.
The EPA recommends the following if you have vermiculite insulation:
“If you have Vermiculite insulation, you should assume the vermiculite insulation has asbestos and do not disturb it!”
The EPA then provides an outline as follows:
- Leave vermiculite insulation undisturbed in your attic or in your walls.
- Do not store boxes or other items in your attic if it contains vermiculite insulation.
- Do not allow children to play in an attic with vermiculite insulation.
- Do not attempt to remove the insulation yourself.
- Hire a professional asbestos contractor if you plan to remodel or conduct renovations that would disturb the vermiculite in your attic or walls to make sure the material is safely handled and/or removed.
Here is a picture of Vermiculite insulation (the small mineral looking stuff not the fiberglass).