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All,

I swept a storage room in our attic area this weekend, and noticed some of the insulation had fallen out of the wall cavity (some exposed)...so swept it up. Then I decided to check online if there was anything bad...then I got worried.

The insulation is fluffy, and I guess cellulose, but it also has little shiny scales or disks in it. I'm just worried that this might be vermiculite (with asbestos). There wasn't much on the floor, but there was loads of dust so I cant be sure.

I've attached a picture of some of the exposed stuff, I live in an old victorian mansion, I guess turn of the century.

Any thoughts? Should I be worried?

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tn_2013225123811_photo.jpg

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From that picture, it looks like cellulose insulation to me. Vermiculite would be in little spongy "pieces" for lack of a better word.

Yes, I thought that after looking up pictures, but the website (http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/vermiculite.html) says that it's formed of shiny flakes, and was just checking that the shiny flakes in my image weren't nasty shiny flakes..

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Vermiculite is roughly cube shaped and some of the facets are shiny, like rock salt only smaller and a whole lot lighter. It tends to be beige to yellow-brown in color.

Cellulose is little bits of recycled newspaper shredded until the fibers become fluffy, although it increasingly contains shiny paper like ad slicks and magazines and fatter paper like cereal boxes. The slow demise of print media is also pinching cellulose manufactures. These fibers are sprayed with boric acid to make them flame resistant and sometimes a latex adhesive to make them stick together for open wall applications. The coatings, as well as the print from its former use, can show up on larger bits as shiny surfaces.

I agree with Rob and think you have cellulose, but that pic is too blurry to be sure.

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It's also possible that it's an attic with cellulose where someone tore an old comp roof off and a lot of the comp material fell down on the insulation - I've seen that before and it leaves a lot of shiny flakes.

Sometimes around here we find old houses that have an initial layer of vermiculite that's two or three inches thick and then they've blown in cells over the top of that.

Did you pick up a piece and compress it between thumb and forefinger? Did it compress like the vermiculite used in potting soil or was it solid?

In any event, unless you expect to still be alive a quarter of a century from now, I wouldn't worry about it; they say it takes about a quarter of a century for asbestos to metastasize in lung tissue. If that's true and you are no longer a spring chicken it probably isn't going to mean a whole lot to you anyway because by the time it does manifest itself you'll have no way to know if you got sick from today's exposure or you got sick based on exposure to brake dust when you were standing next to the Service Manager's desk in an auto repair show ten or fifteen years ago; or when you turned on your old forced hot air heating system and didn't know that there was dried out deteriorating asbestos tape sealing the duct-to-boot joints, or didn't know that the dust cloud you passed through on the interstate is laden with asbestos so you never bothered to shut your air vent and hold your breath, or from the hand-held hairdryer you used years ago, or from the hair dryer you sat under at the beauty shop, or from that old black cement you scraped up off a basement floor, or from the......

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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My guess is that there may have been vermiculite, some was removed maybe, and cellulose was added, giving you cellulose with pockets of vermiculite. Then with remodeling and other disturbance the vermiculite is now mixed in with the cellulose.

Vermiculite was often added to older houses like yours in the 40's and 50's.

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I had this mixture recently, Rockwool, Fiberglass Pink, cellulose and shiny Vermiculite insulation all stirred up together.

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It's a mixture of old cellulose and vermiculite. It's more dangerous because of the rat sh*t content than the asbestos content.

That's very true. It takes about a quarter of a century for asbestos to bite you but there is no cure for Hanta virus and it can take you out in a week.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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No idea where the sand came from.

I think I'm just going to keep the door shut. I inhaled a lot of dust when I swept the floor in there, but it was mostly just dust and bits of wood and not the insulation stuff. Having said that i've been clearing a lot of mucus from my throat the past two days. I couldn't see any rat droppings, just dust.

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No idea where the sand came from.

I think I'm just going to keep the door shut. I inhaled a lot of dust when I swept the floor in there, but it was mostly just dust and bits of wood and not the insulation stuff. Having said that i've been clearing a lot of mucus from my throat the past two days. I couldn't see any rat droppings, just dust.

Ever hear of nasal irrigation? Check it out.

Marc

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What Mike said, the sand is from old shingles, in all likelihood. It can drift in thru gaps in the roof sheathing when the roof is replaced.

Read more about asbestos, because you will find it all over an old house like yours. Asbestos fibers are microscopic and they can drift in the air for hours.

Read about lead paint because you have that too.

How is your electrical? Do you have a breaker panel installed or is it still a fuse panel? If some of the wiring is original, it should be checked for safety. Shock hazard and fire hazard.

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