Does vermiculite in the UK contain asbestos?

Asked By: Quan Peran | Last Updated: 16th February, 2020
Category: home and garden smart home
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Asbestos is associated with older properties, and although modern homes are constructed without any asbestos being used, in homes that were built before 1990 there is a good chance that the insulation type used in the loft is vermiculite, and is therefore contaminated with asbestos.

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People also ask, does vermiculite still contain asbestos?

Not all vermiculite products contain asbestos, but some do. An EPA study showed some vermiculite products contain low levels of asbestos. Asbestos is found primarily in the unmixed vermiculite product although some was found in pre-mixed potting soils.

Beside above, is vermiculite really dangerous? Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that is perfectly safe when pure. Unfortunately, an estimated 75 percent of it came from Libby, Montana, where it usually was contaminated with toxic amphibole asbestos. Exposure to asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly cancer.

Similarly one may ask, how often does vermiculite contain asbestos?

The EPA says that vermiculite insulation, which is the pebbly stuff found in attics of many older homes, is only risky if it contains more than one percent asbestos. That's good news, because most Zonolite, a type of vermiculite insulation, falls into that category.

How much does it cost to test vermiculite for asbestos?

A basic test to determine whether vermiculite is contaminated by asbestos costs about $100 and up, depending on the number of samples taken. But even if the vermiculite is contaminated, it may not be necessary to remove it.

39 Related Question Answers Found

How can I tell if my vermiculite insulation contains asbestos?

Vermiculite loose-fill insulation is one of the most common household materials that contains asbestos. Vermiculite insulation has a pebble-like appearance and typically is a grayish-brown or silvery-gold color. It is made from a natural mineral material that is mined from the earth.

Can you remove vermiculite yourself?

To remove the vermiculite - I was going to follow those steps: Seal off the room with access to the attic. Dampen insulation and surroundings in the attic with water, to prevent at least some of the particles to become airborne. Fill bags with the loose (damp) insulation and remove them from the attic.

Is it safe to buy a house with vermiculite insulation?

Asbestos exposure from vermiculite insulation can lead to asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, which can show up years or even decades after exposure. Vermiculite-insulated attics should not be used for storage, and the material should be abated by certified contractors before attempting any remodeling work.

How long does vermiculite last?


I heard that vermiculite last for 2 years, until it decomposes, then you have to add it again. However perlite lasts for a long time. Also vermiculite, could have some asbestos, or, asbestos like material/fine dust that could cause some breathing problem down the road.

How do I know if I have asbestos insulation?

Recognizing Asbestos Insulation. Look for loose fibers between your walls and in your ceilings. Keep an eye out for light, fluffy fibers that are used as insulation. They could also be found stuffed in paper bags and inserted into floor joists.

Do I need to remove vermiculite insulation?

The EPA strongly recommends that "you should never attempt to remove the insulation yourself. Hire professionals trained and certified to safety remove the material." Although states don't recommend it, they generally allow homeowners to remove vermiculite from their own homes.

What is better vermiculite or perlite?

Perlite is a hard, highly porous material made by super-heating volcanic glass. Vermiculite retains more water and retains it for longer periods than perlite. Vermiculite affords slightly less aeration than perlite. For plants that thrive growing in a more-wet soil, vermiculite would do well as a potting soil additive.

How do you get rid of asbestos?

Steps to remove asbestos as safely as possible:
Thoroughly wet down the material before you start by gently spraying the surfaces with water. Continue to do this regularly during the removal process. (You can use water, water mixed with detergent, or water mixed with a PVA solution of one part PVA to ten parts water).

Which type of asbestos has the best fire protection properties?


Chrysotile is the most commonly used type of asbestos and is often contaminated with trace amounts of tremolite. Chrysotile fibres are usually fine in texture, possessing high flexibility and good heat resistant properties, making it ideal for use in cement, brake pads/linings and roofing materials.

How do you identify asbestos?

To determine if your building has asbestos, check areas where the material was most commonly used like the roof, bathroom, and basement. Also, look around the siding, roofing, and soffit materials for small dimples or shallow craters on the surface, which are signs of asbestos.

Where can I get tested for asbestos?

To find a licensed professional to take an asbestos sample you can call or visit the website of the work health and safety regulator in your state or territory. It is recommended that all testing be undertaken by a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accredited laboratory.

Is vermiculite in potting soil dangerous?

Potting soil is a seemingly safe product, though it can sometimes be mixed with vermiculite–a natural material mined from the ground that can contain particles of asbestos. Once asbestos is inhaled, it can become detrimental to health and cause life-threatening diseases such as mesothelioma.

Does perlite contain asbestos?

While breathing any type of fine dust is not good for your lungs, you don't have to worry about asbestos contamination with perlite. Perlite is a volcanic glass, and asbestos is a fibrous form of a mineral. They are not normally found together in nature.

When did Asbestos stop being used?


Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos as insulation. Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.

What is loose fill asbestos?

What is loose-fill asbestos insulation? This is insulation made from raw asbestos that has been crushed into a fine state and installed in roof spaces as ceiling insulation. If disturbed, asbestos fibres can move from the ceiling to other areas of the home, such as walls and sub-floor areas.

What does asbestos look like in attic?

Vermiculite insulation is often found in attics. Its stone-like pieces vary in size and range in color from gray-brown to silver-gold. If you encounter vermiculite insulation, the EPA recommends that you assume it contains asbestos and take appropriate precautions.