Insulation in your home is something that many take for granted. Good insulation results in less energy costs. A problem is that many homes have were vermiculite insulation containing hazardous asbestos fibers.
How Do I Know if I Have Vermiculite Insulation?
Luckily, vermiculite insulation is often easy to recognize because its appearance resembles small pebbles that are grey, brown, silver or gold. It was a very popular form of insulation used in homes and buildings over the course of many years. If you look at your insulation (but do not disturb it or move it) and it appears to look like small pebbles, it may be contaminated with asbestos. Do not attempt to remove it yourself.
Asbestos is dangerous and toxic when it is disturbed, so the last thing that you want to do is head to your attic and begin pulling the insulation down as doing so will release the fibers that can put you and your family at risk for cancer, respiratory diseases and heart problems. If you see the vermiculite insulation in your attic, it may also be in your walls. Again, do not begin tearing down your walls or, in any way try removing the insulation without guidance from a professional.
Is My Family as Risk if We Just Leave the Insulation?
As long as you do not disturb the insulation you and your family may be safe. When the asbestos is moved around (disturbed) it begins releasing harmful and toxic chemicals that are dangerous when inhaled.
If you need to go into your attic, be sure to wear protective gloves and a mask just in case you accidentally move any of the insulation. If your attic has a lot of the vermiculite insulation, it is probably best not to store anything in the attic or to have it professionally cleaned by an asbestos removal professional.
What if I Want to Remodel My Home?
If you are planning to remodel, you will need to hire a professional because he or she may know how you can do the remodeling without having to move the insulation.
What if I Have Been Exposed?
If you have disturbed some of the vermiculite insulation in your home or have torn down a wall in your home, you may want to consider having the remaining insulation in your home tested for the presence of asbestos. You and your family will need to be regularly tested for asbestos-related illnesses if the insulation tests positive for asbestos.
While some people assume that it is better to remove asbestos insulation if it exists in their homes, new research has found that leaving it alone undisturbed is the best defense. Even if you have to remodel, there are ways to do so to prevent the disturbance of the asbestos contaminated insulation. Always consult a professional before making any decisions.