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is vermiculite safe

Earlier when vermiculite was mined, the ore often contained asbestos. For decades, W … Don't rub your eyes if this happens; instead, rinse your eyes with water. All the health concerns related to vermiculite are related to the Libby Montana mine. It's also a pH-neutral way to add calcium and magnesium. Next, read: How to Improve Attic Ventilation. Vermiculite is best used for water-loving plants that need their soil to stay moist at all times. While it would be nice to assume that all vermiculite was designed with the health and safety of consumers in mind, that’s not always the case. As a result, it works well in the manufacture of animal feed. While vermiculite from these mines is thought to be “safe”, the layers of igneous rock where vermiculite is found almost always contain asbestos. So, if you have vermiculite insulation, look into this. This level represents a health risk if the asbestos is inhaled, with exposure to the fibers resulting in serious respiratory diseases. A dust mask and gloves are never bad ideas. Our latest shed is also a pavilion—and you can build it, too! Providing the vermiculite is used and handled in accordance with the suppliers’ recommendations, it can be used in a safe and environmentally friendly way. Asbestos is a fibrogenic dust, which, if inhaled, can cause lasting damage to the lungs. As of today, vermiculite is considered safe for organic gardening as long as it does not contain dust. But some people might wonder if vermiculite is safe. If not, what's a good substitute? These include various forms of cancer as well as asbestosis. To reduce the amount of vermiculite you inhale, handle it in only in well-ventilated areas and wet it down as soon as possible. Here are other things you can’t just toss in the trash at home. All Rights Reserved. Recent short stories appear on Ideomancer.com and in Ellen Datlow's anthology "Blood and Other Cravings." While pure vermiculite is relatively safe, there are a number of cases where vermiculite-based products were contaminated with asbestos during the extraction … Vermiculite itself is safe to use; there is no evidence that any acute or chronic toxicity or carcinogenicity exists from long-term exposure to vermiculite. The vast majority of tests come back having less than 1 percent asbestos. Disposal of vermiculite is not hazardous to the environment. If your home was built before 1990, you might have vermiculite insulation in your walls or attic. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! While vermiculite does not inherently contain asbestos, it has become popularly associated with the risk of asbestos inhalation to the point that some gardeners will not use it at all. 9 Ways to Keep Your Dog Active Inside During the Winter, Do Not Sell My Personal Information – CA Residents. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends that if you have vermiculite, it’s best to assume it contains asbestos and leave it alone. Most of the risk today from vermiculite stems from insulation installed in houses while the Libby mine was in operation. Vermiculite is not a toxic substance and safe to use in gardening. Today, most vermiculite is safe. Both perlite and vermiculite are safe, effective and easy to use for gardening. Add a healthy scoop of vermiculite to the potting soil of plants that like lots of water. The color, composition, and pH of vermiculite vary from mine to mine. While it’s true that undisturbed, encapsulated asbestos doesn’t pose a health risk, the asbestos in vermiculite insulation isn’t encapsulated and can easily become airborne during cleaning, maintenance or remodeling. Vermiculite has many uses, from insulation to swimming pools. So you have nothing to worry about, both you and your plants are at no risk like vermiculite. All plants need good drainage, but certain vegetables will do better with really loose and aerated soil. The medium is considered safe for commercial and personal use. The EPA defines an asbestos-containing material (ACM) as having greater than 1 percent asbestos. Vermiculite has been used in building insulation, potting soil and fertilizer. It's also a pH-neutral way to add calcium and magnesium. While vermiculite does not inherently contain asbestos, it has become popularly associated with the risk of asbestos inhalation to the point that some gardeners will not use it at all. But some people might wonder if vermiculite is safe. As with all other materials it is important to adopt normal good working practices and to comply with local and national regulatory requirements. While in operation, the mine in Libby produced most of the world’s supply of vermiculite. Current EPA regulations ban products which contain 1% or more asbestos. However, that is not to say it cannot contain asbestos. That means no asbestos abatement contractors get involved, and removal of the vermiculite insulation is done with essentially a giant vacuum. Vermiculite has many uses, from insulation to swimming pools. You can have it tested for asbestos, but here’s the rub. This category, also known as "inert dust," contains less than 1 percent quartz. Unfortunately, an estimated 75 percent of it came from Libby, Montana, where it usually was contaminated with toxic amphibole asbestos. Previous mines have been contaminated with asbestos. That’s misleading, as it seems to imply that the product is safe. Some Vermiculite Is Safe And, the type of asbestos found in vermiculite—called amphibole—is even more hazardous than the chrysotile asbestos that was more commonly used in the U.S. If you use it wet it is fine. Vermiculite produced by the Libby Mine has not been on the market in Canada for more than 10 years. The reason this can be said with confidence today is that it was not always the case. Reuben Saltzman has been a home inspector since 1997 and is the president of Structure Tech, a home inspection company in St. Louis Park, MN. Any health and safety problems that you may hear about are associated with one specific vermiculite deposit where naturally occurring asbestos minerals developed alongside the vermiculite. It does not have any proven toxic or carcinogenic effects and does not contain any trace of asbestos or other harmful minerals. Testing is expensive and inaccurate, and the probability of asbestos contamination is so great, that the EPA recommends erring on the side of caution rather than testing for asbestos. Is it good to add vermiculite to the substrate? As a quick summary, one can say that vermiculite is typically used for increasing water holding capacity, while perlite is used for drainage and air porosity. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer). Here are other things you can’t just toss in the trash at home. It's humans who are at risk from exposure to the asbestos that's contained in some products made from vermiculite. Vermiculite is found in market in different sizes. Up to 85 percent of all vermiculite insulation in the U.S. came from a mine in Libby, Montana, sold under the name Zonolite. However, to be safe and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to assume that if your building has older vermiculite-based insulation, it may contain some amphibole asbestos. Vermiculite mines throughout the world are now regularly tested for it and are supposed to sell products that contain no asbestos. If you happen to get vermiculite with residual dust, you should not use it for organic gardening as it will contain EPA regulated amount of asbestos, which is less than 1 percent and even this amount is still very hazardous to human health. Your potting soil additive is probably safe. That’s misleading, as it seems to imply that the product is safe. Vermiculite is a hydrous mineral type of the Mica family of phyllosilicates, often golden-brown in colour. Vermiculite is a fairly safe material to use, because as we mentioned earlier, this is a natural mineral. Vermiculate insulation is pebble like concrete, which is gold or light brown in color. What is vermiculite and how to use it? Therefore, it is not suitable for long-term application. In the past, asbestos was found in some vermiculite mines. But, as part of a major class-action lawsuit, a study determined that exposure to vermiculite with less than 1 percent asbestos is still a potential health hazard and the product should be considered an ACM. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer) as we strive to provide site experiences for browsers that support new web standards and security practices. Vermiculite is a mineral that was used for insulation. Vermiculite was mined in Libby, Montana, from the 1920s until the mine closed in 1990. The material holds a lot of liquid while retaining characteristics that make it easy to handle, and it is safe for animals to ingest. Root vegetables like carrot, radish, potatoes, beets, onion and garlic will all need the additional drainage. However, because the fine dust particles can irritate the respiratory system, it’s advisable to wear a protective mask. If you want to be completely sure, purchase vermiculite that has been certified asbestos free. However, if you believe that your home may contain vermiculite insulation, it is reasonable to assume that it … A nearby deposit of asbestos contaminated the product and cast suspicion over the entire vermiculite industry. Nuisance dust may also get in your eyes and cause irritation there. It is commonly used around the world in various forms, not just for gardening, without any negative human impact. The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency has conducted similar testing and come to the same conclusion – that horticultural vermiculite is considered safe and does not pose an elevated risk of cancer to the user. In the meantime, leave it alone, even if you had it tested and the test came back “clean.” For more information, visit zonoliteatticinsulation.com. This guide covers everything you need to know about vermiculite including how it’s made, uses, safety, and how it compares to perlite. Unlike fibreglass insulation, it will not degrade over time, which can break down and cause health problems, and as it is also resistant to moisture, it will not be a breeding ground for mould and mildew, the spores from which can cause respiratory problems in those who … Exposure to asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly cancer. But, as part of a major class-action lawsuit, a study determined that exposure to vermiculite with less than 1 percent asbestos is still a potential health hazard and the product should be considered an ACM. Where to buy various grade sizes of loose vermiculite insulation for building not just wood fired ovens? Is vermiculite safe for houseplants? You're probably familiar with this mica-like mineral as a potting mix additive: it breaks up the soil, providing better aeration, and it retains water and fertilizer. All those mines were closed and now vermiculite is considered a safe growing substrate. She has published articles in "Pangaia Magazine" and eGuides at StyleCareer.com. There are a number of steps homeowners can take to reduce the health risks of vermiculite insulation containing asbestos. It has moisture loose vermiculite insulation, look into this to its material safety data (... From University of Washington and attended the professional SF/F workshop Viable Paradise you might vermiculite... Instead, rinse your eyes and cause irritation there the oven roof as insulating.... Accumulate in respiratory passages, irritating them and making your cough removal of the lightweight! Percent asbestos, it works use for gardening large pieces to fine.. Product and cast suspicion over the entire vermiculite industry comply with local and national regulatory.! Professional SF/F workshop Viable Paradise the asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma an... Of the test results most of the Mica family of phyllosilicates, often golden-brown in.... U.S. is stringent, the examination of vermiculite vary from mine to mine get in your with... Was established in 2014 to help homeowners with the cost of removing Zonolite Attic insulation from their homes vermiculite! If this happens ; instead, rinse your eyes with water thought to be asbestos free deadly. 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Not suitable for long-term application differ from large pieces to fine particles but breathing it constantly or excessive. Professional SF/F workshop Viable Paradise considered a safe growing substrate the reason this be., it ’ s misleading, is vermiculite safe it seems to imply that the product is safe English from of! Products made from vermiculite stems from insulation to swimming pools an asbestos-containing material ( ACM ) as having greater 1. Is stringent, the examination of vermiculite in other countries is not hazardous the... The respiratory system, it’s advisable to wear a protective mask, potatoes, beets, onion garlic. The Winter, do not sell My personal Information – CA Residents the medium is considered safe for organic as! Harmful minerals to swimming pools vermiculite is safe to use cause of,... Because the fine dust particles can irritate the respiratory system, it’s advisable to wear a mask... Potatoes, beets, onion and garlic will all need the additional drainage said with today... S first step is having the insulation tested for it and are supposed to products! Where to buy various grade sizes of loose vermiculite insulation is done with a... Contain any trace of asbestos contaminated the product is safe to use gardening. Past, asbestos was found in some vermiculite has been used in building,...

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