Vermiculite and Asbestos

Vermiculite and asbestos are two minerals used for similar purposes.  Both have been historically used as excellent insulators, since they have highly effective heat resistance properties.  They are also both wonderful fire retardants, which makes them useful in the construction and shipbuilding industries.

That could be where the similarities end, however, because vermiculite is generally considered to be harmless to humans who are mining or working with it, while asbestos exposure can lead to many life-threatening diseases.  These diseases include mesothelioma, which has no known cure and can kill someone with terrifying quickness once symptoms manifest themselves.

Vermiculite is mined all around the world, with particularly large concerns operating in China, Brazil, South Africa, the United States, and Zimbabwe.  Within the United States, the largest mines are in the Appalachian mountain range, especially around Virginia.  It resembles mica, another mineral sometimes used for insulation in electronic devices, and has a brownish, vaguely metallic and glassy hue.

Since vermiculite has some similar properties as asbestos, it is often associated with mesothelioma.  However, there does not appear to be any evidence linking the mineral with the brutal cancer, or with any other diseases typically associated with asbestos exposure.  The major causal association between vermiculite and mesothelioma, at least in this country, appears to have stemmed from the asbestos-tainted vermiculite mines of Libby, Montana.  The case of asbestos in Libby, Montana is a well-documented and devastating one which has affected the lives of many in the area.

Due to the fact that vermiculite is generally considered harmless, it’s still used for construction today.  However, vermiculite from the Libby mines is considered suspect, since much of the mineral mined there also contains traces of asbestos.  That isn’t considered harmless.  If you have been exposed to vermiculite from Libby, Montana, there’s a chance that you might have also been exposed to asbestos.  If that’s the case, it might be a good idea to contact a mesothelioma lawyer with a proven track record of success.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.