Health Library

Published: June 2010

Asbestos safe weatherization of homes with asbestos contaminated vermiculite attic insulation (VAI) and other asbestos containing materials (ACM)

Published By: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global

Contributors: Hutchings, Kristopher D


Vermiculite is a commercially mined mineral that when heated expands in a popcorn-like fashion. Once expanded, vermiculite is lightweight and fire resistant, which suited it for application during the first half of the 20th century as inexpensive attic insulation. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of the world’s supply of vermiculite mined between 1920 and 1990 came from a WR Grace mine outside Libby Montana. This mine was found to contain several natural deposits of amphibole asbestos and operations have since ceased.

Asbestos-contaminated vermiculite attic insulation (VAI) is found in more than an estimated 30 million homes across America (EPA, Libby Asbestos, 2010)). Millions more homes across
America also have other asbestos mineral containing (ACM) materials such as floor tiles, furnace insulation, pipe insulation, and duct work. This study examines data collected as part of a larger study funded by a REACH grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop and evaluate safe weatherization protocols for homes with asbestos contaminated VAI and other ACM. Data were generated from high volume air sampling and worker personal breathing zone sampling during weatherization activities; and surface wipe sampling following weatherization activities of 37 homes.

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