Includes new info on the sampling, analysis, removal and disposal of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite insulation from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
Sampling and analysis of vermiculite insulation to determine if it is Zonolite(TM)
The ZAI Trust will analyze a vermiculite sample submitted by the property owner using a chemistry method to determine if it is "more likely than not" Zonolite(TM). If the answer is "yes", then the homeowner is potentially eligible for the ZAI Trust's partial reimbursement program for costs associated with the professional removal of the Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation by an asbestos abatement contractor. Click here for specific details.
EMSL has gained extensive experience in the analysis of vermiculite for Libby Amphibole asbestos by operating the contract lab for the EPA Superfund site at Libby, Montana and also by providing a variety of specialized vermiculite analyses at its Cinnaminson, NJ lab for private clients and the ZAI Trust. EMSL can perform the new Zonolite Attic Insulation (ZAI) Trust chemistry method for determination of whether it is "more likely than not" Zonolite brand vermiculite insulation for private clients - this can be done with faster turn-around times than submitting to the ZAI Trust. EMSL is also represented on the ANZI Subcommittee D22.07 on Sampling and Analysis of Asbestos that is developing a qualitative TEM analysis method that uses a water separation process. Click here for more information on EMSL's vermiculite analytical services.
It is extremely dangerous to remove Zonolite(TM) brand vermiculite insulation by dry shoveling and dry sweeping - especially while only wearing half-face air-purifying respirators equipped with Class 100 particulate filters. This is because the OSHA PEL and Excursion Limit can be exceeded in seconds when Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation is disturbed, and this class of respirator does not provide adequate protection. Moreover, it is not possible to "adequately wet" vermiculite insulation because it could cause the ceiling to collapse, spilling vermiculite insulation into living spaces and requiring a costly cleanup for the asbestos abatement contractor!
The safest way to remove Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation is a HEPA-filtered industrial vacuum system. Basically, there are two options:
1) Large trailer-mounted industrial vacuum like those used during the EPA Superfund cleanup in Libby, Montana homes, or
2) A smaller, dedicated industrial HEPA vacuum system like the one below.
The Ruwac Attic Vac Vermiculite Removal System uses a cyclonic first stage separation process to remove the coarse vermiculite into a 55-gal poly lined drum, then the fine dust is removed by the second stage HEPA vacuum cleaner. The top of the drum includes a spray nozzle to set the vermiculite in the drum and also includes a level indicator! This is the system that my reviewer Sam Nigro, President of Dudley Services, Inc. has been using very successfully. An optional 55-gal bulk separator can be inserted between the cyclonic separator and the HEPA vacuum, and is useful for dealing with situations where there are other types of insulation (e.g., blown-in cellulose or fiberglass).
There are reportedly other systems that use cyclonic first-stage for vermiculite removal.
If you offer specialized products or services for the sampling, analysis or abatement of vermiculite insulation and would like to see it listed here please send an email to email@example.com.
To submit a question or comments to improve future editions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright ©2014-2017 by Daniel Erwin. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. This web page updated 2-18-17.