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Vermiculite Contamination in Older Ottawa Homes

If your house’s insulation system contains vermiculite minerals, you might want to think twice about carrying out any major maintenance, renovation or demolition work before consulting a qualified vermiculite removal contractor in Ottawa—it might just spare you a health scare in the long run.

Prior to 1990, many construction companies used vermiculite for insulation purposes because of its lightweight, fire-resistant and heat-trapping qualities. However, despite these useful traits, vermiculite presents potential health risks that home and building owners cannot afford to ignore. In order to properly grasp the dangers that this pebble-like product poses, we must first take you back to the early years of vermiculite mining.


During the early to late 1900s, much of the mineral was mined in Libby, Montana—an area where asbestos deposits prevailed. The Libby mine supplied the majority of the world market with vermiculite-based insulation. Today, more than 35 million buildings in the U.S. alone have a high likelihood of asbestos contamination.


Construction materials containing asbestos, such as insulation boards, cement, ceiling tiles or roofing shingles, typically do not release significant amounts of contaminated fibres under normal use. However, cutting or damaging these products can cause harmful fibres to become airborne.

Exposure to asbestos-laced vermiculite increases your risk of developing lung diseases, lung cancer or mesothelioma—an aggressive form of cancer directly related to prolonged asbestos exposure that develops in the lining of your lungs or abdomen. Health risks increase with the level of concentration of tainted fibres in the air, as well as the duration and frequency of exposure. Because asbestos-related diseases can lie dormant for years, many victims aren’t aware of their toxic environment until it’s too late.

The vermiculite extracted from the Libby mine was sold under the trademark Zonolite and widely used to insulate attics in homes across the globe, in the years leading up to 1990.


Insulation products that can pose severe health risks should be removed and replaced with a safer alternative to protect against harmful side effects. O’Reilly Brothers—Ottawa’s insulation specialists for more than 50 years—offers premium removal and installation services for your home or business. We’ll securely rid your property of all contaminants and install proven alternatives like spray foam insulation for a safer and warmer living space.

The insulation of choice among many Ottawa residents for its energy savings and proven life performance, spray foam will help preserve your home’s integrity, as well as the environment’s!

If you suspect that your building might contain asbestos-contaminated materials, then don’t wait to contact your trusted insulation contractor in Ottawa for the safe removal of vermiculite.

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