Asbestos in Vermiculite Insulation – What Is The Risk?, asbestosdefinition.com | It is estimated that approximately 4% of the U.S. population has been exposed to asbestos in some form at some time in their lives. It was first used in 1859 as a fire-proofing material for railroad ties. Asbestos fibers were relatively light, and their ability to resist heat was its most attractive feature. The fibers were not particularly strong, however, and when they came into contact with other materials, such as rubber, they would break.
The fibers released microscopic asbestos particles, which lodged in the surfaces and then hardened, while the air dried out between them. Over time, these particles could become airborne and become a risk to the public. Asbestos was used widely in both indoor and outdoor insulation and construction.
Asbestos in vermiculite insulation was a risk because it was never subjected to an inspection and testing program before it was added to the market. While asbestos in vermiculite insulation was probably a factor in causing lung cancer, the actual numbers are unknown.
Despite the fact that asbestos was used in just about every form of insulation that was put up before the 1980s, it still caused many deaths. Exposure to asbestos also resulted in asbestosis, a disease that causes scarring on the lungs and other parts of the body. Although all asbestos was eventually banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to small amounts is still allowed in certain industries.
Many manufacturers choose to use vermiculite insulation in their buildings because it is less expensive than fiberglass or ceramic tile. The reason that it is less expensive is because the cost of asbestos testing and removal is far less than in a typical building. Also, vermiculite insulation is considerably more affordable.
However, even though the costs are less, the public should be aware that asbestos is still present in vermiculite insulation. It is very possible that people could still be exposed to asbestos. This is especially true for those who are exposed to asbestos through products such as vermiculite insulation.
When asbestos is exposed to moisture, the substance can break down. When this happens, the asbestos fibers are broken apart. When the fibers break, they release the deadly asbestos material into the air. Because it is so readily broken down, asbestos is easier to inhale than the air itself.
Asbestos fibers have become particularly hazardous because they are so small. These small fibers are highly perishable, and because they can remain in the air for several days, people can easily inhale them. Exposure to asbestos is not limited to its use in insulation.
Persons who work with asbestos often unknowingly come into contact with the substance. For example, a worker who washes the outside of a building with contaminated water may expose himself to asbestos. So long as the water is not used to pour asbestos onto a building, it is unlikely that someone will come into contact with asbestos. However, it is still possible for the water to become contaminated during the process of washing the building.
The small number of reported cases of asbestos being present in vermiculite insulation may actually be a good thing. Studies show that people who are exposed to asbestos are at a higher risk of developing asbestosis than those who are not. Those who are not exposed may also be at a lower risk of contracting the disease.
So long as the asbestos is not sprayed onto the exterior of a building, the risk of a person coming into contact with asbestos in this way is virtually nonexistent. Therefore, people can be at little risk, but little risk is good. It is important to keep in mind that even if exposure to asbestos in vermiculite insulation is low, it could still result in a greater risk of developing the disease.
People who are concerned about being exposed to asbestos should look for vermiculite insulation in buildings where asbestos has been used. There is no guarantee that it has been properly tested, and so, even the presence of asbestos may not be the result of a serious problem.