Work - Health and Safety
Avoid working with asbestos causing asbestosis - Mesothelioma
Insure using safe materials!
The topic may be already well known to you but still this page is here to rise more awareness about the hazardous asbestos. One never knows where that material can be hidden as a nasty surprise.
For obvious concerns in most countries you won't be able to find any new asbestos containing products on shop shelves anymore. If you live in a country where legally appointed attorneys and lawyers specializing in - structured settlements or taking to court compensation claims, law suits, for clients suffering from Asbestosis, malignant Mesothelioma lung cancer, asbestos related non-malignant lung diseases or injuries - win big money, then old practices of selling asbestos on the market have been long abolished. No doubt about that! And that's good.
Is Vermiculite safe? Or is it a health risk?
Vermiculite is not asbestos. Subjects this site is about are safe. For many of various applications Vermiculite insulation works well as substitution for asbestos material and nowadays produced vermiculite doesn't yield asbestos particles. A few ore bodies with tiny traces were found in past (in one particular source - written more about that source is here below) but those sources are not allowed to be used, or rather to say sold in new products, around for landscapers nor for any type of thermal insulation anymore.
Watch for possible danger whet it comes to old/reused material.
BUT in a case when reusing or recycling old material such as chimney liners, fireproof wall boards, roof covering, old gaskets for example and you see it's of white to light-blue color with clearly visible fibers inside or on it, when in doubt please ask what it's made of. You can have it very easily professionally analyzed or even tested in a lab too. If buying such a product read the description first.
There are many old products containing asbestos still in use today even in buildings where people live, work, study. Asbestos' microscopic fibers easily become airborne when the material is moved (e.g. during repair, renovating or demolition of old buildings) and can be irreversibly inhaled into human lungs. Just one cell next to a tiny asbestos particle might 20 years after cause significant health injuries/damages, diseases such as Asbestosis, Mesothelioma lung cancer, non-malignant lung diseases. As a matter of fact, my dad was one of those injured people. I was 13 years old when he died.
Always use a quality respiratory protection when removing even just a small asbestos piece. Try not to produce too much dust and insure others especially kids were sent away. If you're exposed to asbestos, or to insure safe working with asbestos, search for professional help first. There is plenty of information on this available through appropriate organizations.
If any one knows of an asbestos item laying somewhere, and if you can safely take a close up photo of it please email me that photograph-s in a high resolution detailed file format it would be great to have it on this page for others to see what it looks like.
Health and Safety concerning Vermiculite from the past
The old dirty mine mentioned above is closed for good!
I almost forgot to add to the above: JUST IN CASE - Use only new currently distributed vermiculite and new products made from vermiculite. The modern one comes from known, uncontaminated, and safe sources, according to a strict tests for eliminating health-hazards on health. Between years 1919 to 1990 one old mine located nearby Libby, Montana, USA (that mine is closed for 20 years, abandoned long time now.) That mine used to produce 70 percent and more of all vermiculite sold on the US market and perhaps for some export as well.
The vermiculite source from this mine unfortunately was contaminated with asbestos. Always, be aware of dangers, be cautious and protect yourself and your family. Exposure to asbestos can bring a serious health issues. If you think you could have some of the vermiculite insulation from that old mine, e.g. in the ceiling, walls or floors of your house, don't disturb it, firstly, have it tested instead in an asbestos laboratory service. If the tests were positive, the lab should also suggest to you the right way for its removal or the next step on what to do about it.
How about the Silicosis problem?
Breathing in mineral rock dust is not hazardous as the asbestos so no worries about that too much. Silicosis also called quarry man's rot, grinder's or stone cutter's disease is caused by prolonged inhaling silica from exposure to extreme dusty working environment.
Silicosis is not dangerous as asbestosis. People working on a daily bases in the dusty environment start to experience short breath as a result of their lungs being gradually blocked deep by dust particles. It is just the same dust we can commonly get from soil, stones, concrete, earth but to become ill a person has to stay for ours and repeatedly in such dusty area. I blocked and caused inflammation on my lungs once by the dust produced from routing refractory insulating firebricks for half a day; I'll never do that without respirator again it did hurt badly for something like two days. Not good!
I really felt I had heavy stone on my chest straight on the soft tissue. How about this, the fine silica dust is also responsible for the longest 45 letters long English word:
Thank you and,