[Market-farming] asbestos in vermiculite

Paul A. Bock bockpa at plesh.com
Mon Feb 2 08:54:19 EST 2004

Hi Leigh,
  There have been previous discussions of this.  Apparently the mineral
deposits that they use for making vermiculite naturally contain the mineral
asbestos.  The airborne small particles are the worst form of asbestos, as
compared to an encapsulated form.  I think I heard that the fibers were used
in linoleum tiles at one point.  I have heard that when companies do
asbestos removal they soak down the fibers and batts with water and certain
kinds of detergents, so that the particles don't become airborne.  And I
think they suck all the exhaust air from the house through HEPA filters to
make sure they get everything.  I do not have any experience in any of this,
but maybe thoroughly soaking a bale before you open it would help keep the
airborne dust down.  Maybe face masks would be good.
-Paul Bock
Stone Gully

-----Original Message-----
From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of Leigh
Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2004 12:03 PM
To: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group
Subject: [Market-farming] asbestos in vermiculite

Listening to radio talk with a show about asbestos and it was brought
up that some sources of vermiculite are contaminated with asbestos.

As you probably know this would be a major concern for greenhouse
workers. Soilless mixes (Seedlings mix, potting soil, growing mix)
contain 10-25% vermiculite.

Is this vermiculite being tested/monitored for asbestos? Or are
farmworkers being exposed?

(as anyone who has ever opened a bale of these widely used products,
no matter how carefully it is handled, dust particles from the mix
are released into the greenhouse environment).
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