Q. Do I Have Vermiculite Insulation? (Bankrupcy Claims)

Q. Hey Mark!
We live in Las Vegas, NV and have lived in our home for 14 years.  Our home was built in 1978.

The only reason I am becoming more aware of Vermiculite Insulation, is because I saw an ad on TV the other night that stated there is some type of Class Action Lawsuit going on over Vermiculite.  I did not get to jot down the phone number on the advertisement, so if you know anything about this, could you please let me know who is conducting this suit and maybe a phone number to call ?

We have often wondered since we moved into this home, if it was a “sick” home…we all very frequently feel conjested, “clogged up”, …we have never been this way in any of our other homes we owned.

How can we tell if we have Vermiculite in our attic?….


Hey Alice,
Thanks for your question.  We recently noticed a sudden spike in vermiculite-related inquiries at http://www.HeyMark.Info and weren’t sure why. Thanks to your question, we became aware of a bankruptcy claim concerning vermiculite insulation. Details on this can be found at http://www.graceclaims.com/index.shtml. Homeowners with vermiculite insulation should take a moment to visit that web site. I will be letting my St. Louis area home inspection clients know about this situation, as well.

To determine if you have vermiculite insulation, I’d suggest that you compare it to some photographs. Vermiculite has fairly distinctive features. The web site above has some very good photographs, and there are two vermiculite files available for download right here on this site (see the right sidebar), with photos for reference.  If you are still unsure, contact a local home inspector and ask him or her to come out and identify it for you. If it is vermiculite, you could have it tested for asbestos; however the results of testing are likely to be inconclusive. The reason for this is that not all vermiculite contains asbestos, and parts of your attic could have asbestos while other parts may not.  So, even with testing, I’d be hard pressed to say you’d know for sure whether you had asbestos in your vermiculite. Also, the act of taking samples for testing would disturb the vermiculite, and the EPA warns against disturbing this type of insulation. You will probably find some web sites that advocate the removal of vermiculite insulation, but the EPA says to leave it alone unless you are doing some remodeling. My personal opinion is to follow the EPA’s advice. But, your comfort level dictates whether you should have it tested and/or removed. If you do decide to have it tested or removed (or are planning to do some remodeling) be sure to call a certified asbestos remediation company to take care of it for you. This should be done by experts who are trained to handle it properly.

If you are concerned about breathing cancer causing agents in your home, I would suggest that radon gas may be a greater heath risk than undisturbed insulation.  And if you haven’t had the home checked for radon in the last two years, please do so.

Now, I’d like to address some of the health issues that you state.  These could be caused by a number of different air quality issues in the home.  It might be asbestos, but it might also be as simple as basic allergies.  A thorough cleaning including having all your ducts and chimneys cleaned and swabbed may be of benefit.  You may have a roach problem in the home and could be feeling the effects of that contamination.  If your home has a high humidity level or moisture problem, you might have issues with mold, in which case a mold specialist can inspect your home, take some samples, and make some recommendations.  Or your home may be polluted with residue left over from illegal drug use or manufacturing.  Drug residue never goes away on its own, and can even migrate through fresh paint.  Residents of homes polluted with drug residue, often suffer many of the same health effects of drug users.  This too can be tested for, and mitigated if necessary.

Check out my downloads and links sections in the sidebars for more information on these topics.  Since you do not live in the St. Louis area, I would also direct you to www.Inspectorlocator.com to find a qualified home inspector in your area.

Mark Nahrgang is the owner of Kingdom Inspection Network Group – St. Louis and is a professional NACHI certified building inspector in the St. Louis metro area. Mark performs home inspections as well as commercial inspections throughout St. Louis and St. Charles County.


3 Responses

  1. when we bought our house we had the inspection done on it,and it stated there was vermiculite insulation in the addic.the inspecter didnt say anything nor did the relitor.Know I find out its bad stuff.Do I have any recourse?been here eight years,still have the empty bags up there from the vermiculite.They told me it was up there but never told me how bad it was,would have passed on the house if they told the truth.

  2. My husband and I bough a home that was built in 1936. We have been doing some remodeling to the home. In taking out a wall we had this stuff pour out all over the floor.
    I have since then found out that it was vermiculite. I have been having respiratory problems since then. I have never had asthma in my life and suddenly developed it. I am a non smoker. Have never smoked.
    How can I get this stuff removed from my home. It is everywhere. My husband was fixing windows in the living room and had the same stuff pouring out of the wall when he open the casement of the window.
    Do I have any recourse.
    Let me here from you please. Let me know where I stand.

  3. We have a house that was built in 1910, we just had some remodel done,we found out that we have vermiculite every where walls basement attic,it was disrupted and weren’t told about it,now my husbsnd and i have breathing problems,coughing constantly.

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