Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Danger of vermiculite

I received an interesting email today from a site on mesothelioma. As many of you know, mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer. My father died in August of lung cancer, so of course this interested me. My father was raised on a tobacco farm, and smoked most of his life. During his examination with the pulmonologist, he was asked if he had worked around asbestos. He had not, but I was surprised to find out from the email I received, vermiculite has been associated with asbestos. I have asked Joshua, who sent me the email, to comment on this at this site.
You can read more at to read how vermiculite is mined near asbestos.

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  • I want to thank gardenchick for posting this information on her blog. Vermiculite is often mined within close proximity to asbestos, meaning in some cases trace amounts of asbestos are found in residual dust around the vermiculite granule. The EPA and Consumer Product Safety Commission ban products which contain 1% or more asbestos. However, even those containing less than one percent are potentially hazardous if the asbestos is in loose condition, as it often is in residual dust. This makes dusty vermiculite a clear asbestos hazard. Microscopic asbestos fibers are easily inhaled if present in the air supply. Often these fibers will become lodged in the lung, causing a sustained inflammation of the tissue, asbestosis, and even mesothelioma. Luckily most manufacturers of vermiculite understand the hazard and label their product as "non dusty." Vermiculite that appears dusty should be kept outside and handled carefully, if not disposed of.

    By Blogger jlandon, At December 11, 2008 at 6:38 AM  

  • that was an interesting email. i went to the site and read the original post. whereas the article was addressing the info about this particular mining operation, its workers and towns folk, it did give me pause to think of how many folks use vermiculite in day to day gardening. another reason to keep it as simple as we can. the less products we use, the better!thanks for posting this! peace and hugs to you

    By Blogger comfrey cottages, At December 11, 2008 at 8:32 AM  

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