Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Properties in Illinois May Contain Asbestos Contaminated Vermiculite Insulation


Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

The environmental and building science consultants from EC2 provide asbestos sampling to ensure building occupants are not exposed to their deadly fibers. Perhaps as many as 35 million homes across America may be contaminated with asbestos tainted vermiculite insulation.  Many of these properties can be found across the Midwest, including Illinois.

Not all materials that contain vermiculite have asbestos, but many products containing vermiculite and asbestos were sold in the United States until the 1990s.  According to an EPA fact sheet on vermiculite insulation that was released in June of 2009, “A mine near Libby, Montana was the source of over 70 percent of all vermiculite sold in the U.S. from 1919 to 1990. There was also a deposit of asbestos at that mine, so the vermiculite from Libby was contaminated with asbestos. Vermiculite from Libby was used in the majority of vermiculite insulation in the U.S and was often sold under the brand name Zonolite. If you have vermiculite insulation in your home, you should assume this material may be contaminated with asbestos and be aware of steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from exposure to asbestos.”

Asbestos containing vermiculite insulation has been found to sift through cracks in ceilings and around light fixtures and ceiling fans.  In addition some ventilation systems may disturb the insulation and cause it to become airborne.

According to the same EPA fact sheet, “Asbestos causes cancer and other diseases. There is no known safe level of asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers must be airborne to cause a health risk through inhalation, so the first step is not to disturb the material, which would release more fibers into the air. If you remove or disturb the insulation, it is probable that you may inhale some asbestos fibers – the degree of health risk depends on how much and how often this occurred.”

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