Asbestos insulation is estimated to be present in as many as 35 million homes in the United States. In the decades spanning the 1950s through the 1970s, asbestos was used in hundreds of building products, including:
- ventilation duct insulation
- plumbing insulation
- electrical insulation
- boiler and furnace insulation
- insulation placed inside the walls, ceilings, and attics of residential homes
Zonolite Asbestos Insulation
An example of toxic asbestos insulation is the Zonolite vermiculite insulation. Vermiculite is a mineral ore that contains asbestos. Zonolite was originally manufactured by the W.R. Grace Company, which was hit in March 2008 with a record $250 million fine to cover the clean-up cost at Libby, Montana, where most of the vermiculite was mined.
Before Grace stopped the production of Zonolite vermiculite insulation in 1984, it was installed in millions of homes. There is evidence that Grace officials knew of the toxic nature of the vermiculite asbestos, and Grace has been paying millions of dollars of compensation to the men, women and children with mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other cancers directly traceable to the Zonolite mining and processing.
What to Do with Zonolite Asbestos Insulation
If you know that your home has Zonolite insulation with asbestos in the attic or walls, it’s not generally considered a danger to you and your family, unless the insulation is deteriorating or loose in your home. If it is in place and you don’t come into regular contact with it, it can be left undisturbed.
If you are considering home renovations that would disturb the asbestos, or if the insulation is loose or deteriorating, contact a state-certified asbestos abatement contractor to remove it.
What Zonolite Insulation Looks Like
Zonolite asbestos insulation is comprised of nuggets that are about 1/8″ to 1/4″ inch. When the insulation is new, the nuggets are a bit glittery, and silvery or golden brownish. After years in place, the nuggets get darker, and turn gray or even black.
Other types of insulation may look similar (e.g., rock wool may be gray, but it looks like wool, not nuggets). Fiberglas insulation is like fluffy cotton candy, in white, pink or yellow.
Asbestos lagging is a type of thermal insulation used to retain heat. It’s a very effective and versatile insulator, but nowadays we know more about the dangers of asbestos cancer, and the asbestos lagging in many buildings is a significant problem. Asbestos lagging is found as an insulator in building components such as:
- heating systems
- certain machinery parts
Asbestos lagging comes in several forms including cloth, tape, spray and adhesive. No matter what the form, asbestos lagging is prone to deterioration over time.
Aging Asbestos Lagging
Hundreds of thousands of buildings in the U.S. still have asbestos lagging that was installed before its use was curtailed in the 1980s. By now, this asbestos lagging may be in dangerously poor condition, crumbling or breaking. In other cases, the asbestos lagging is being removed as part of a building’s renovation. When asbestos lagging is friable (crumbly) or manipulated (as it is being removed), it’s a danger to people in the vicinity.
The asbestos content of the lagging was very high – 50% to 100%. The asbestos fibers of which asbestos is composed present a grave danger to the people who install, remove, or otherwise come into contact with the asbestos lagging, because these fibers are too small to be seen and can easily be inhaled.
Asbestos Lagging Can Cause Disease
The fibers in asbestos lagging can become stuck in the lungs or other internal organs and disrupt the body’s normal functioning, causing diseases such as:
These diseases are common among professionals, including pipefitters, plumbers, boilermakers, and laggers (whose duty it was to add the asbestos insulation). The diseases are very serious, often life-threatening. Asbestos lagging has contributed to the epidemic of mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos cancer diseases around the world.
Asbestos in Insulation & Asbestos Lagging Can Be a Health Hazard
If you worked as a plumber, lagger, or other professional who frequently came into contact with asbestos and you suspect that you have an asbestos-related cancer disease, contact us to learn more about your medical options.
If you’re concerned about the hazardous properties of asbestos insulation in any form, you’re not alone. Contact mesothelioma treatment centers to speak with a qualified attorney for more information about the toxic nature of asbestos and asbestos products and what type of treatment options are available to you.
Get the help you deserve from a professional lawyer today.