Vermiculite Testing

Air Quality Canada Inc. is an environmental consulting firm with experienced professionals who perform Asbestos Assessments and other testing services. Whether your concerns are residential, commercial or industrial, we are here to help – Your Safety is our business.

What Is Vermiculite?

Vermiculite was a popular insulation medium widely used between 1940 and 1990. Vermiculite is often an Asbestos Containing Material (ACM), and poses a significant risk to your health. While not all Vermiculite contains Asbestos, vermiculite testing is required before the insulating material is disturbed.

Visually, asbestos contaminated Vermiculite is difficult to identify as it looks nearly identical to asbestos free Vermiculite. A trained environmental specialist is required to make the determination of asbestos contamination.

There is no “safe level” of exposure, and even small amounts over time can have significant negative effects on your health.

Asbestos fibres can become airborne or “friable” when Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACM) are damaged or disturbed. Once they begin to circulate in the air, they are easily inhaled into the lungs. This is how Asbestos readily causes significant health problems such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and other lung cancers.

Why Do I Need a Professional Vermiculite Inspection?

  • Vermiculite insulation products that contain asbestos can cause health risks if disturbed during maintenance, renovation or demolition.
  • Certified Asbestos Inspectors will conduct a test to confirm the presence and extent of asbestos, which forms the basis of your Vermiculite removal plan.
  • So that trained technicians can safely remove the insulation to prevent disturbing asbestos fibres, which when airborne can be inhaled, contributing to a variety of respiratory illnesses and other serious health concerns.

What Does the Asbestos Assessment Include?

We have a standard “Asbestos Assessment” procedure, however every situation is unique. Therefore, we custom tailor every inspection to suit your needs. We will consult with you to determine the specifics of your situation.

Our Asbestos Assessment Includes:

  • Visual inspection of the building for evidence of Asbestos Containing Materials.
  • Substance samples to identify the type of Asbestos and concentration percentage.
  • Airborne Asbestos analysis to identify Asbestos fibres that are in the air.
  • A detailed report on our findings, and assistance in creating your plan of action moving forward to remediate the hazardous situation.

The only way to confirm if an object contains Asbestos is by having it sampled and analyzed by a Qualified Professional and Accredited Laboratory. Prior to assessment and analysis, precautions must be taken to treat the material as if it contains Asbestos. Samples should only be extracted by trained technicians. Improperly extracting samples can be more hazardous than leaving the material undisturbed. If you suspect an Asbestos-containing material, call today and get it tested immediately.

Identifying Insulation that is Made From Vermiculite

Look at the photos on this website and then look at the insulation without disturbing it. Vermiculite insulation is a pebble-like, pour-in product and is usually gray-brown or silver-gold in colour.

The following photographs show typical vermiculite insulation:


What are the Health Symptoms of Asbestos?

We have a standard “Asbestos Assessment” procedure, however every situation is unique. Therefore, we custom tailor every inspection to suit your needs. We will consult you and your situation over the phone in order to assessing your particular needs.

  • Asbestosis – A serious and chronic inflammatory lung disease, typically due to long term occupational exposure.
  • Lung cancer – Risks especially increase in those who have also been smokers.
  • Mesothelioma – A specific form of cancer that begins with the lungs, and also may affect other vital organs (The Canadian Cancer Society provides more information about mesothelioma)
  • Benign pleural diseases – A group of ailments that include thickening and hardening of the pleura (the lining that covers the lungs and chest cavity). These can be associated with pleural effusions (fluid around the lung)
  • Cancers of the larynx and digestive system – including cancer of the esophagus, stomach and colon.
  • Death – The World Health Organization reported that in 2004 alone, over 107,000 people lost their lives due to complications arising from Asbestos fibre exposure.


Do You Do Your Own Laboratory Analysis?

We do not. In order to offer an ethical service our clients can trust, we work with a third-party, local A2LA accredited Laboratory. This allows the results to be defensible in court. It is strongly suggested that you work with a environmental consulting company who does not perform in-house lab work.


Asbestos Testing – The Law Requires It

Asbestos is a Designated Substance under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ontario Regulation 278/05 – Designated Substance — Asbestos On Construction Projects And In Buildings And Repair Operations; January 2011).

Owners of commercial properties and residential complexes with 6 or more individual units along with any property owner planning renovations have certain responsibilities when it comes to the potential presence of asbestos on their properties. The new regulations can be found on the Ministry website. If you own property that was built before the mid-1980’s, you need to know where your responsibilities lie.

If you do not think your employer is doing enough to protect you from Asbestos, contact your provincial Occupational Health Agency or The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), a national government-funded agency.