The Removal of Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite Insulation

October 3, 2014

Throughout the United States and Canada, vermiculite has been making news in recent years because of its link to asbestos. This type of insulation is dangerous to remove and harmful to come in contact with, but how did it become a problem in North American homes? Luckily, Capitol Machine has the answer to that question and can offer a solution to insulation contractors looking to remove contaminated insulation.

What is Vermiculite Insulation?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “vermiculite is a naturally-occurring mineral composed of shiny flakes, resembling mica. When heated to a high temperature, flakes of vermiculite expand as much as 8-30 times their original size.” This light-weight, fire-resistant, and odorless type of insulation was used to insulate many homes in the U.S. and in Canada between the years of 1920 and 1990.

How is It Linked to Asbestos?

How is Asbestos- Linked to Vermiculite Insulation

Most vermiculite can be traced back to a mine near Libby, Montana, which unfortunately contained asbestos. Under the name Zonolite, this type of insulation was sold and filled homes throughout North America. Homes built with asbestos-contaminated vermiculite before 1990 still pose health risks today, including the potential for people to develop cancer and more diseases. The EPA has advised those who identify vermiculite to assume it contains asbestos. It is best to leave this insulation alone and not enter areas of the house where it is present, like an attic.

How Can You Remove Vermiculite?

While homeowners can avoid getting rid of vermiculite if they let it be, it may be safer to have the insulation removed. It is necessary to remove this type of insulation when retrofitting the home or if it will affect a major construction project. In these cases, homeowners should hire trained and certified insulation professionals to remove it from their homes. Asbestos professionals must be trained and accredited by the EPA and individual state requirements.

When in the hands of a qualified professional, our insulation removal vacuums, the CV14 and CV14-6” can handle the job of removing vermiculite. Let’s get rid of this hazardous type of insulation. We encourage certified contractors to call us, reach out to us on social media or submit a contact for to schedule a demonstration of our removal vacuums.