Like many Pennsylvania residents, you may be familiar with the terms vermiculite and asbestos but not have a clear understanding of either. You may even have heard somewhere along the line that asbestos is a potentially dangerous material; however, that doesn’t mean you are fully educated on the topic.

There is a dangerous connection between vermiculite and asbestos. To protect your family’s health, it’s a good idea to research to learn more about the health hazards associated with these two products and to find out what types of resources are available to help you or your loved ones if you suffer an asbestos or vermiculite-related illness.

What is vermiculite?

If you have used moisture-retaining products to help plants grow, you may have used vermiculite. In addition to use in horticulture, vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that manufacturers often use in insulation as well. Vermiculite expands when exposed to heat. During the 1900s, the majority of the nation’s vermiculite products came from factories in Montana. The problem is that the mine where the vermiculite was acquired also happened to contain asbestos.

How that might affect your home

Do you have vermiculite insulation in your home? If so, then you may also have an asbestos problem. Asbestos contaminates significant amounts of vermiculite. While your risk for terminal illness is much lower if the insulation in your home is left undisturbed, there are numerous issues that can pose a serious risk, such as if the insulation becomes wet or crumbles.

Identifying vermiculite insulation

There are specialized teams of people who know exactly how to handle asbestos situations. In fact, there are laws that govern when and how the asbestos removal process takes place, as well as who is allowed to perform such projects. Moreover, if you don’t know what vermiculite insulation looks like, you won’t know if you have a problem. It is typically gray-brown or silver-gold and is pebble-like, perhaps sprayed into your walls or ceilings.

No safe level of exposure

There is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. It is microscopic and gets into your body through breathing or ingestion. Symptoms of illness do not typically appear right away, so an exposure today may not be evident as having caused a problem until you seek diagnosis after symptoms appear, maybe years from now.

Quality of life

The illnesses most often associated with asbestos exposure are incurable. Your family would likely need a strong support system to help you or your loved one alleviate discomfort and to try to continue to function and enjoy life as much as possible. Many Pennsylvania asbestos victims find it helpful to seek compensation for damages against those whose negligence caused their illnesses, as the court may award monies that can at least help alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with them.