Massachusetts Homeowners

 Mass save(R) has a new that for a limited time only can provide qualified homeowners with a Barrier Mitigation Grant grant of up to $3,000 towards the costs of professional removal of vermiculite insulation.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) published Frequently Asked Questions About the Revised MassDEP Asbestos Regulation (310 CMR 7.15) on June 19, 2015.


Sampling Vermiculite Insulation


There are three reasons for sampling vermiculite insulation: (1) To determine if it contains 1% or more asbestos and is therefore subject to Federal or State EPA and OSHA regulations when it is removed. (2) In Massachusetts, to determine if it is asbestos-containing waste material (ACWM), because the MassDEP regulates construction debris with any amount of asbestos. (3) To determine if the vermiculite insulation is Zonolite(TM) for purposes of determining eligibility for partial reimbursement by the ZAI Trust.


While the ZAI Trust will allow a homeowner to collect a small sealed plastic bag of vermiculite insulation and submit it to the trust for analysis, a homeowner should have a State-licensed asbestos inspector conduct sampling for quantitative analysis used for a regulatory purpose because the sampling and testing methods are different and multiple samples may be required to representatively sample the installed vermiculite.


Because Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation is highly friable and when disturbed can rapidly release elevated levels of Libby Asbestos, I strongly encourage homeowners to hire a State-licensed asbestos inspector to obtain vermiculite samples for regulatory purposes because multiple samples may be required and this prolongs the exposure time, necessitating the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) including respiratory protection and personal protective clothing. The inspector should then send the sample to a laboratory that does a lot of analysis of vermiculite insulation for asbestos such as EMSL in New Jersey (see below). 


Home Inspection


The best time to determine of a home has Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation is for the seller to have a home inspection prior to putting the home on the market. Otherwise, it is critical for a home buyer to have a home inspection conducted by a home inspector who is knowledgeable about the asbestos issue with Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation. Although the ZAI Trust has been reaching out to home inspectors professional associations, the home inspection profession is still grappling with this issue, and not all home inspectors may have received formal training about asbestos in Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation. For that reason, I recommend that a home owner hire a home inspector who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHE), because each of these professional organizations require their members to complete a certain amount of professional development education and training annually.


With the exception of lead-based paint (LBP) where federal regulations mandate disclosure during a real estate transaction, seller's real estate disclosure obligations vary within each state. The issue with the presence of Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation is that is adversely affects the home's revalue because of the cost to have it removed properly. Therefore, even though technically disclosure of the presence of Zonolite(TM) vermiculite insulation might not be legally required by state law, I would argue that it is strongly advisable, because it could open the seller, real estate agent and potentially even the home inspector to potential legal liability and risk of litigation for failing to disclose it during a property transaction once they have knowledge of its' presence. When in doubt, it's always a good idea to consult with a State-licensed real estate attorney to minimize potential legal liability in a real estate transaction involving any environmental contamination or hazard.


Residential Vermiculite Removal Services


Greater Boston Area - Dudley Services, Inc.


​Homeowners need to understand that if a sample of vermiculite insulation is shown by lab testing to contain 1% or more asbestos, it becomes a "regulated removal." However, because Zonolite(TM) brand vermiculite insulation is so friable I strongly recommend that you treat it as a regulated asbestos removal if any amount of asbestos is found or if it is confirmed to be Zonolite(TM) insulation by the ZAI Trust test method.

If you are a homeowner in the Greater Boston Area (North Shore and Metro West) and you have vermiculite insulation in your attic, walls and/or masonry foundation, I strongly recommend that you talk with Sam "Butch" Nigro at Dudley Services, Inc. In addition to extensive experience in the asbestos abatement industry, Dudley Services specializes in residential vermiculite removal and Sam really cares about helping homeowners deal with this issue. Sam was also one of the reviewers for my two eBooks, and provided me with a wealth of practical information gained from his experience with residential vermiculite removal.

Libby vermiculite insulation (marketed under the Zonolite® brand) is hazardous, so you don't want to hire an abatement contractor if your project is going to be their first residential vermiculite removal! Sam's process is discrete and can be done completely inside your home, so you don't have to worry about the neighbors thinking there is a "hazmat" response going on at your home.

There is financial assistance for qualified homeowners from the Zonolite Attic Insulation (ZAI) Trust of 55% up to a maximum cost of up to $7500  (or a maximum reimbursement of $4125) associated with the professional removal of Zonolite Attic Insulation (ZAI) and re-insulation. In some cases, the ZAI Trust may also retroactively reimburse homeowners who paid for vermiculite removal prior to when the ZAI Trust became active on June 16, 2014. Visit the ZAI Trust website or contact the ZAI Trust directly for more details.

Click here and here for more information about Dudley Service's residential vermiculite removal services, call Sam at 617-981-4280 or email  Dudley Services at dudleyservices@gmail.com. Please tell Sam that you learned about his services from this website. Note: I do not receive any direct or indirect compensation for this endorsement.


If your firm specializes in residential vermiculite removal in other parts of the country and would also like to be listed here, please write to info@libbyvermiculte.com.

Massachusetts Asbestos Project Monitor Services

I also encourage anyone who has vermiculite insulation removed from their home in Massachusetts also have a Massachusetts Licensed Asbestos Project Monitor (APM) perform a final visual inspection and final clearance air testing before re-occupancy. An APM is retained (paid) by and works for the homeowner. These services are considered costs of removing vermiculite insulation for purposes of partial reimbursement by the ZAI Trust.

If you live in the North Shore, Metro West or the South Shore in Massachusetts, I further recommend that you talk with Patricia ("Patti") Riley of Enviro-Safe Engineering. Patti is unique in the world of Massachusetts APMs in that she has a degree in Civil Engineering from MIT and a Masters in Construction Management from Wentworth Institute of Technology. She's overseen and monitored numerous asbestos abatement projects, including projects with with Dudley Environmental. Enviro-Safe Engineering also provides other services such as asbestos inspections, asbestos project design, mold assessments and training. Click here for more info on Enviro-Safe Engineering or call 617-623-6678. Please tell Patti that you learned about her services from this website. Note: I do not receive any direct or indirect compensation for this endorsement.

EMSL Analytical



EMSL has gained extensive experience in the analysis of vermiculite for Libby Asbestos by operating the contract lab for the EPA at the Libby Superfund site for the entire 15-year cleanup, 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 a sample 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.  Click here for more information on EMSL's vermiculite analytical services.


Questions? Comments?


To submit a question or comments to improve future editions, please send an email to info@libbyvermiculite.com.


Copyright ©2014-2017 by Daniel Erwin. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. This web page last updated 2-18-17.