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Asbestos in Vermiculite: What to Know

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on March 18, 2024

Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral compound that is often used as an insulation material. In its pure form, it is not toxic. However, most of the country’s vermiculite was mined in Libby, Montana, in a mine that also had a natural deposit of asbestos. This means that most of the vermiculite found today is also contaminated and can pose a serious health and safety risk to anyone exposed. 

Understanding the risks and implications of asbestos in vermiculite is crucial for homeowners, workers, and consumers alike. The prevalence of asbestos in vermiculite insulation has become a significant concern due to its widespread use and potential health risks. For a comprehensive understanding of your rights and what you should do if you suspect exposure to asbestos from vermiculite, contact The Williams Law Firm, P.C. We would be happy to support you in every way we can, as we have never lost a case and treat every claim as our cause.

Where Is Vermiculite Typically Found?

Vermiculite is naturally found in mines, such as in the Libby mine. It was widely used in manufacturing for its insulation properties, which include heat and fire resistance. Because of this, vermiculite is often used for attic insulation. The substance resembles shiny flakes that are often compared to mica. When exposed to high temperatures, these flakes expand to up to 30 times their original size.

Expanded vermiculite looks like small nuggets or stacks layered together. They range in color from silver, gold, gray, and brown, or a combination of these colors. Vermiculite is most often found in attics, walls, ductwork, and other places where insulation is used. It is also present in many potting soils and fertilizers.

How Common Is Asbestos in Vermiculite?

The issue with vermiculite is that around 70% of all vermiculite sold in the United States from 1919 to 1990 came from the mine in Montana. Most, if not all, of this vermiculite is tainted with asbestos from the same mine. This means there are high odds that any vermiculite in your home, workplace, consumer product, or elsewhere will contain asbestos.

If you suspect there is vermiculite anywhere in or near your home, we recommend you get it tested. There is a high chance of asbestos fibers contaminating vermiculite insulation and other sediments. Asbestos contamination can result in serious health conditions, especially with long-term asbestos exposure.

Can You Get Mesothelioma From Vermiculite?

Yes, it is possible to get mesothelioma – along with other illnesses connected to asbestos – from vermiculite. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. However, mesothelioma is most commonly associated with frequent or consistent exposure to asbestos, such as those who work with or around vermiculite. 

You could suffer asbestos poisoning and related illnesses from vermiculite, including vermiculite insulation, if the asbestos particles are disturbed or removed, which puts you at risk of inhaling or ingesting the particles. Over the years, if asbestos fibers get lodged in your system, they can create scar tissue that ultimately turns into cancerous tumors. You could also be at risk of asbestosis, lung cancer, and other health problems associated with asbestos.

Can You Test Vermiculite in Your Home for Asbestos?

You can pay a professional to come test the vermiculite in your home for traces of asbestos. Asbestos is not visible to the naked eye and requires professional testing by a trained technician using a microscope.

It’s important to leave this to the professionals so that you do not accidentally expose yourself to asbestos. Professionals can take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from potential harm by using personal protective equipment and following the safest industry standards. This will allow them to test the vermiculite insulation for asbestos in a lower-risk situation. If you need additional guidance and information, you can contact The Williams Law Firm, P.C. for recommendations about moving forward with a claim.

What to Do if You Have Vermiculite Insulation in Your Home

If there is vermiculite insulation in your home, you should assume that it contains asbestos and treat it as such even if you do not pay for professional testing. Do not touch the vermiculite or disturb it in any way, as this can release microscopic asbestos particles into the air and put you at risk of exposure. An ordinary dust mask will not protect you from inhaling asbestos.

Can You Sue for Asbestos in Vermiculite Insulation?

Asbestos exposure takes years to turn into a disease or illness with noticeable signs. Early signs of mesothelioma and asbestosis often include chest pain, shortness of breath, a persistent dry cough, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

If you or a loved one gets diagnosed with a disease connected to exposure to asbestos in vermiculite, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Even if you were exposed due to the negligence of a company that is no longer in existence, you could be eligible for compensation through an asbestos trust fund.

Fight for Complete Compensation and Receive Outstanding Representation Today

If you’re concerned about asbestos in vermiculite and its potential health risks, The Williams Law Firm, P.C. is here to provide guidance and support. Led by the dedicated attorney Joseph P. Williams, we have over 30 years of experience and have never lost a case. Vermiculite, often used for insulation, can be contaminated with asbestos, posing serious health and safety risks. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos through vermiculite in your home or workplace, you may be at risk of developing illnesses like mesothelioma or asbestosis. 

We offer free consultations to help you understand your legal options. Contact us at (855) 575-6376 to schedule an appointment. You can also reach out by completing our contact form. Our experience and understanding in handling asbestos-related cases can be invaluable in seeking compensation and justice for your situation, and we will fight for you every step of the way.

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