Some idiot had put Vermiculite insulation into the attic of my College
Park, Md. home. The house inspector didn't catch it when I initially
bought the house. The EPA SITE
has alot of good information on vermiculite.
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Based on all the information I was able to find, it seemed that leaving
it be was the best idea unless you need to do any construction.
Unfortunately due to severe misengineering my roof failed and needed to
be replaced. The last thing I wanted was alot of activity stirring up
the dust in the attic. Hence, I had to have all the vermiculite removed.
I did have it tested first but unfortunately from what I understand
asbestos concentrations in vermiculite are not uniform. As such, a
negative finding may not conclusively prove that there's no asbestos.
The vermiculite I had in my attic did test negative but I opted to play
it safe and have it removed professionally as if it had asbestos in it. You never know.
The process was pretty involved. They start by enclosing the entire
work area in thick plastic. In my case this meant sealing off the area
in front of and behind the pulldown staircase into the attic. They set
up a "decontamination chamber" at the base of the stair and also put
two large HEPA filtered exhaust fans in place to establish "negative
pressure". Any dust or fibers generated during the removal process
would flow out the top windows and through the HEPA filters.
To complicate matters the insulation in my attic was below a plywood
floor. As a result these poor guys had to remove the plywood, cut it up
while up in the attic and bag and seal it before they could remove it.
Each piece of material removed from the attic was properly sealed in a
really thick plastic trash bags with warning labels.