Asbestos-Containing Vermiculite

I have worked at EnviroTech as an environmental inspector going on 8 years now and have come across vermiculite on quite a regular basis. As a company, Envirotech has removed vermiculite safely and effectively from hundreds of homes.

The largest and oldest vermiculite mine in the U.S. is located in Libby, Montana, and although it is no longer in use, it was producing vermiculite up until 1990 under the commercial name Zonolite. Vermiculite
At one point, the Libby mine had produced up to 80% of the world’s vermiculite. Vermiculite has been used throughout homes as an insulator, but is most commonly found as loose-fill in attics. 


“Vermiculite is a hydrous, silicate mineral that is classified as a phyllo silicate and that expands greatly when heated.” In other words, when combined with inorganic bonding agents, it is a great insulator. Great, right? Not necessarily! What the definition of vermiculite fails to tell you, is that the vermiculite mined in Libby, Montana, was mined from the same site that contained tremolite and richterite asbestos. Many speculate that the vermiculite was heavily contaminated, and it was covered up by the company W.R. Grace, who purchased the mine in 1963.

The EPA recommends vermiculite, especially the vermiculite sold under the brand Zonolite, be treated as asbestos. Treating vermiculite as asbestos and having it removed from your home can be extremely costly. The good news is that W.R Grace funded the Zonolite attic insulation (ZAI) trust. Eligible claimants will be reimbursed up to 55% of the max allotment of $7,500.00. For example, if you spent 7,500.00 you could receive a reimbursement of $4,125.00. If your abatement cost you $4,000.00 you could receive a reimbursement of $2,200.00. If your abatement cost you $20,000.00, you are only eligible for the max claim of $7,500.00 and would receive 55% ($4,125.00). Even though this isn’t covering the full costs of remediation, it will help take some of the financial burden off of the home owner and is a step in the right direction. Zonolite-Vermiculite-Bag

If you suspect Zonolite may have been used in your home, call Envirotech today for a free consultation.