Vermiculite Insulation

I just purchased an older home with about 2-3 inches of Vermiculite insulation in the attic. I would like to increase the amount of insulation in the attic eventually. I also understand that Vermiculite insulation can be dangerous, and may contain asbestos.
What would be the best approach to adding insulation to the attice. Should I add more Vermiculite? Is it still sold? Should I remove, or have the Vermiculite removed, then add fiberglass batts??? (I have a double cartridge mask that I wear anytime I need to go in this attic.)
Any thoughts you have will be appreciated. I will be speaking to insulation contractors eventally, but I'd like to enter the conversation with some background information... Thanks!!!
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john snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Vermiculite contains asbestos. Do not, repeat, do not try remove it yourself. You'll just spread the bad stuff all over the place, everywhere around the house. Get a good asbestos removal company to assess the situation. This is not the situation where you want save some bucks and DIY.
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John wrote:

As I understand it all vermiculite contains asbestos but in some it is far too small an amount to worry about. I also understand that leaving it alone is OK, but you should have it removed professionally or have it checked for content before trying to do it yourself.
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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john snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

GOOGLE: vermiculite + asbestos.
It is not a certainty that yours contains asbestos. IMHO, the last thing you want to do is disturb it.
Get it tested before doing anything.
Jim
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Speedy Jim wrote:

I thought vermiculite is cellulose, probably from wood chips. Fortunately, this is not a problem that I have (for once).
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William W. Plummer wrote:

No, vermiculite is a mineral. During mfg, the mineral particles are "exploded" to create the insulation mtl. No wood.
Turns out some of the firms making/selling the stuff *knew* all along that the feedstocks contained asbestos!
Jim
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Since nobody really seems to know much about this but everyone's posting what they *think* they know, I'll do so as well. The asbestos issue with vermiculite is ("as far as I know") a problem with naturally occuring contamination of the vermiculite processed at the W.R. Grace mines in Libby, MT. This stuff was shipped all over the country as insulation (typically under the brand "Zonolite") and soil additive for nursuries. The EPA recommends simply not disturbing any suspect asbestos in residential settings-- you'll cause more problems trying to remove it than to just cover and let it sit. You're better off just insulating over it and forgetting about it.
Occupational exposure to asbestos is a hazard. My grandfather died of lung disease related to his work in shipyards surrounded by asbestos. But the small amounts one would encounter in a residential setting (outside of Libby, MT, and other factory sites where apparently it was spread around people's yards and kids played in piles of tainted vermiculite processing spoils) aren't worth worrying about. If they were, we'd have a nation-wide epidemic of mesothelioma. But it remains quite rare, despite the mountains of asbestos in homes, schools, and workplaces around the country.
Info on Libby and vermiculite: http://www2.umt.edu/Libbyhealth/myths_and_facts/some_facts_asb estos.htm
Info on cleanup of processing site in Minneapolis: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/hazardous/sites/hennepin /western/index.html
Info on asbestos-inducted mesothelioma is here: http://www.mesotheliomaweb.org /
Hope this helps-- the point is jus leave it alone and insulate your attic over it with something modern and more effective. 2" of vermiculite is about R-0 today, after it's settled.
-Kiwanda
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Thanks for the excellent information...
There are some empty Vermiculite bags in the attic... I will pull one out, and try to see where the stuff originated from... I will also have insulation put over the existing vermiculite.
Thanks
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Doesn't much matter where it came from, for two reasons. First of all, you may as well leave it in place and insulate over it. And second, you probably know that you should wear a filter mask even if the stuff contains NO asbestos. It's still very dusty stuff to work with.
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William W. Plummer wrote:

Vermiculite is a mineral, it is mined and has nothing to do with cellulose. Vermiculite does not necessarily contain asbestos; the major source of vermiculite contaminated with asbestos is from mines in Libby Montana.
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