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Old 09-17-2019, 11:19 AM   #1
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Asbestos in attic?


I helped a friend with some contracting work (rafter upgrades) last week - a total of about 3 hours with a dust mask on - and am concerned that I could have been exposed to vermiculite. The home was built in the late 50's and has had quite a bit of work done - remodeling, multiple additions, etc. For insulation the attic space had plastic wrapped batts/rolls between the floor joists, covered by a thick layer of blown cellulose. I did quite a bit of raking/movement of the cellulose and laid boards on the batts to crawl around. The homeowner is a contractor and the only thing they said with regards to the attic was that there was little to no insulation up there when they moved in 5 years ago but I am hesitant to completely trust their word.


Considering the age of the home, is there a chance that there was vermiculite hidden under the batts, i.e. would it be common to hide it under poly-wrapped insulation? If so, would my exposure have been significant?

Last edited by milliways; 09-17-2019 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:44 AM   #2
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Re: Asbestos in attic?


The simple dust masks are not that effective at filtering out asbestos but from your description I doubt your exposure was anything to be concerned about, that is assuming there had been asbestos in there at one time.

In any case there is zero you could do at this point besides not going back until the place is tested and certified clean.

I don't see your state listed as closer to Montana would increase the probability it had asbestos containing vermiculite, although that isn't a good determinate. Checking with other homes of the same age in that area might be a better measure.

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Old 09-17-2019, 11:50 AM   #3
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Re: Asbestos in attic?


It was only one brand that had asbestos in. If you had disturbed vermiculite your description of what you saw would have been much different.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:52 AM   #4
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Re: Asbestos in attic?


Do not expose yourself again and again. Only the dust mask does not protect you from asbestos exposure. There are special hazard masks for asbestos.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: Asbestos in attic?


I do not rely on the N-95 face masks although that is what the insulation crews rely on. I use a 3M half face mask that has cartridges and the cartridges can be covered with dust filters. Very effective seal and I can use it with dust, silca, pollen, molds, and pesticides to protect my lungs.

Problem is that very small particulate matter can get deep in your lungs and be too small for the body to extract which in turn results in emphysema.


https://www.amazon.com/3M-Comfort-Fa...qid=1573675576
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:15 PM   #6
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Re: Asbestos in attic?


I've not heard of vermiculite containing asbestos, but, you learn something new every day. (I use it a lot in potting plants!)

One thing I have found is that asbestos is EVERYWHERE. For all the horrors it causes, it's also very very useful in a lot of ways. If you're really worried, have the material tested. There's labs that can do it. If you're really really worried, have more than one test it.

Be warned that asbestos, hype notwithstanding, is NOT banned completely. It's still very much around, just not like it used to be. It's still used a lot in applications like glues where it's a lot less likely to get into the air where it can be breathed.

And, old houses still have pipes made with it, covered with it, along with a lot of other stuff. It won't hurt to look at all of your hidden attic stuff with a hard eye, and get it tested if you're worried. If you post some pictures, some of us here (not me) might be able to tell you more.

Given how old your house is, I think it's worthwhile to have a variety of the materials in there checked.

Good luck!

Last edited by DoomsDave; 11-13-2019 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:17 PM   #7
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Re: Asbestos in attic?


Faith and begorrah, bow' hout' dat'!

https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/protect...ite-insulation
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