What you need to know about vermiculite

Mass Appeal

It’s important to keep our homes safe & healthy — and you may not realize what is and what isn’t hazardous in your home. 

Mark  Haynes, Environmental Specialist from Abide Inc. and he joins us to share more about vermiculite. 


  • Brown or Yellow Mineral with a gold flecks.
  • Used in insulation and a moisture retentive medium for growing plants
  • Significantly expands when heated.
  • For insulation, the puffed or exfoliated vermiculite was treated with a water repellent.
  • When mined the ore contained a form of asbestos called Tremolite.
  • Most commonly used in attics as a loose fill insulation between 1940 and 1990
  • 70% of all Vermiculite sold in the US from 1919 to 1990 was mined near Libby, Montana owned and operated by WR Grace.
  • This mine was contaminated with asbestos!
  • Most common brand name of insulation was Zonolite
  • According to EPA, if Vermiculite Insulation is present, assume it to contain Asbestos.  Testing is not necessary.
  • It is not homogeneous, so negative testing results for asbestos can give you a false sense of security
  • If you cannot manage it in place or want to get rid of the liability.  It can be expensive, there is help.
  • Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust can off-set costs of by 55% up to a $7,500 abatement or up to $4,125
  • Home owner must first submit a claim on line and then send sample to the Trust.
  • Once verified that it is Zonolite, you will need to submit an invoice and proof that the work was done to get reimbursed.
  • Only Licensed Asbestos Abatement Contractors can safely remove it.   Some will even walk you through the reimbursement process.

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