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Oxhouse | Posted in General Questions on

Asbestos or dryer lent? 
We are buying my grandmothers house (b. 1948) and there was been rodents in the house & we came across this tonight while moving the washer and dryer away from the wall. 
Sorry for the bad lighting. A professional would be 4hrs away so any help would be appreciated.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    It's probably cellulose insulation, but it's hard to be certain with such low-quality photos.
    If you have any doubts, invite an experienced insulation contractor -- one who has experience installing cellulose -- to look at it.

  2. walta100 | | #2

    No one can be certain if asbestos is present without testing under a microscope. Most cities have a local lab and testing is not a large expense if you consider risk from exposure. Mail order testing is 30.00 Walta

  3. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #3

    I agree with Martin- it sure looks like cellulose, but it's too low-res to say for sure.

    If it's cellulose it will not feel the least bit itchy/prickly, and when thoroughly wetted becomes like papier mache (since it's made of milled shredded paper and fire retardents.) The fire retardents usually impart a gray appearance to the paper. Scoop a demitasse full of it and sprinkle in some water, see how easily it mixes and wets. Cellulose wets and clumps readily and can soak up quite a bit of water.

    Some rock wool products will have a similar and gray look but is clearly longer fibers, and can be itchy to the skin and is more hygrophopic-it won't wet or clump very easily when wet. The same is true for some blown asbestos products, which usually have a more uniform somewhat darker gray color than rock wool.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Dana Dorsett is correct, and there's every reason to believe that the insulation in the photo is harmless cellulose.

    That said, I'd like to add an important safety warning: If you suspect that you're looking at vermiculite insulation -- a type of insulation that often includes asbestos -- or if there is a good chance you are looking at asbestos pipe insulation, then you don't want to be touching it, feeling it, or scooping up a demitasse of it.

    Here's the rule: Don't touch it. Secure the area and ensure that the fibers aren't disturbed. Especially, don't let kids anywhere near it.

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