Vermiculite Insulation

January 9, 2015 

Lincoln County Asbestos Resource Program has the best and most updated information regarding the hazards as well as educational information on Libby Vermiculite/Zonlite @

 Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust 

We are pleased to advise you that W.R. Grace's Plan of Reorganization became final on February 3, 2014. Consequently, W.R. Grace has now funded the Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust from which eligible ZAI claimants will be reimbursed. This webpage contains all the information you need to submit a claim for reimbursement.


New Vidoe on Libbly Montana Vermuculite:



This is the most recent information on this very real health risk from the CDC and ATSDR  . This link will also provide a contact for reporting Libby Vermiculite known to be contaminated with asbestos. 

Here in Albuquerque New Mexico we have two sites just like this one Minnesota. EPA is in town to start a Superfund Site Clean-up at both sites. The first one was located on 1st street where work started last week. The second one is located on Edith NW and work will start this week. Two public meetings were held by EPA to address any questions the public might have. The bottom line is we will see illnesses asbestos related for many years to come. People that still have questions or concerns can come to the News 4 Health Fair and visit our booth #714 on January 28th and 29th . I will be happy to address concerns and point you in the right direction for assistance if you think you might be sick with asbestos related illnesses. You can call me if you’re like me and like to talk instead of typing.The Minnesota Department of Health along with ATSDR did a study on a processing plant just like the two we have that resulted in low level non-occupational illnesses that produced shocking results. The Traveling Libby Legacy: Minnesota Community Exhibits Nonoccupational Health Impacts Consistent with Asbestos Damage.
This video explains it all so well.. 
Libby   (posted 2/20/2010)
Miller Confronts the Lessons of Asbestos in Libby, Mont. (thanks to Vicki A,/GA)
A few words from Dr. Aubrey Miller about his work on the Libby disaster...he was one of the early heroes to address the problem.


What is vermiculite insulation?
Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that has the unusual property of expanding into worm-like accordion shaped pieces when heated. The expanded vermiculite is a light-weight, fire-resistant, absorbent, and odorless material. These properties allow vermiculite to be used to make numerous products, including attic insulation.
How does asbestos cause health problems?
Asbestos can cause health problems when inhaled into the lungs. If products containing asbestos are disturbed, thin, lightweight asbestos fibers are released into the air. Persons breathing the air may breathe in asbestos fibers. Continued exposure increases the amount of fibers that remain in the lung. Fibers embedded in lung tissue over time may result in lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma. Smoking increases your risk of developing illness from asbestos exposure.
What should I do if I have vermiculite attic insulation?
DO NOT DISTURB IT. Any disturbance has the potential to release asbestos fibers into the air. Limiting the number of trips you make to your attic and shortening the length of those trips can help limit your potential exposure. EPA and ATSDR strongly recommend that:

  • Vermiculite insulation be left undisturbed in your attic. Due to the uncertainties with existing testing techniques, it is best to assume that the material may contain asbestos.
  • You should not store boxes or other items in your attic if retrieving the material will disturb the insulation.
  • Children should not be allowed to play in an attic with open areas of vermiculite insulation.
  • If you plan to remodel or conduct renovations that would disturb the vermiculite, hire professionals trained and certified to handle asbestos to safely remove the material.
  • You should never attempt to remove the insulation yourself. Hire professionals trained and certified to safely remove the material.
What if I occasionally have to go into my attic?
EPA and ATSDR strongly recommend that homeowners make every effort not to disturb vermiculite insulation in their attics. If you occasionally have to go into your attic, current best practices state you should:
  1. Make every effort to stay on the floored part of your attic and to not disturb the insulation.
  2. If you must perform activities that may disturb the attic insulation such as moving boxes (or other materials), do so as gently as possible to minimize the disturbance.
  3. Leave the attic immediately after the disturbance.
  4. If you need work done in your attic such as the installation of cable or utility lines, hire trained and certified professionals who can safely do the work.
  5. It is possible that vermiculite attic insulation can sift through cracks in the ceiling, around light fixtures, or around ceiling fans. You can prevent this by sealing the cracks and holes that insulation could pass through.
  6. Common dust masks are not effective against asbestos fibers. For information on the requirements for wearing a respirator mask, visit the following OSHA website: protection/index.html
 Here is EPA's info page on Vermiculite:
Charles R. Perea