Vermiculite is a silver-gold to gray-brown mineral that is flat and shiny in its natural state. When heated to about 1000°C, it swells, creating air pockets. This enlarged shape and the fact that vermiculite does not burn make the material suitable for use as insulation.
Does any vermiculitis cause health problems?
Vermiculite itself has not been shown to cause a health problem. However, some vermiculite insulation containsasbestosfibers, which can be problematic if inhaled. As long as this type of vermiculite-based insulation remains untouched behind intact walls or in attics and does not peel off, it should not be a cause for concern.
One of the main concerns was zonolite insulation® Attic. In fact, this insulator was sold in Canada under the name Zonolite® and was extracted from the Libby mine in Montana, USA. This mine contained a natural deposit of asbestos, which resulted in the contamination of vermiculite with asbestos.
However, vermiculite produced by the Libby mine has not been on the Canadian market for more than 10 years. All vermiculite sold in Canada before 1990 does not contain asbestos fibres. However, if you think your home has vermiculite, it is reasonable to assume that it may be contaminated with asbestos. If this is the case and you plan to renovate or remove the insulation, it is highly recommended to contact a qualified professional.