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Asbestos or just old loose fill?

1856House | Posted in General Questions on

Old farmhouse with broken down loose fill insulation when we tore out lathe and plaster. No idea when it was put in but at least over 50 years ago. I’ve done a lot of research and pretty sure it’s not asbestos but just looking for some other opinions. Thanks.

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  1. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #1

    Looks like cellulose to me. Old beat down dirty blown fiberglass can look similar though. It doesn’t look like vermiculite though, and that was the risky one.

    I’m not aware of asbestos being used in blown insulation but I can’t be sure of that. Every asbestos containing thing I’ve seen has been either formed insulation (like pipe insulation), or in some type of hard material like the adhesive used with old tile floors.


  2. seabornman | | #2

    I couldn't zoom in enough to tell. Is it vermiculite? Crumbly with sort of a mica sheen to the individual pieces.

  3. this_page_left_blank | | #3

    Very hard to tell at that resolution what it is with any degree of certainty.

    The plaster you tore down is a potential asbestos source. I would have had that tested before doing that.

  4. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #4

    Vermiculite (a common asbestos-laden loose fill insulation) is chunky and granular, not woolly/fibrous. That looks a like rock wool of some sort.

  5. Expert Member
    Peter Yost | | #5

    Unfortunately, asbestos was used in an awful lot of products, particularly around World War II. And then a lot of military surplus materials containing asbestos made their way into all sorts of uses after the war. Take a look at this (partial) list here:

    The only way to know if a material contains asbestos is examination under a microscope at a certified asbestos test lab.

    In the photos, I would agree that it does not look like asbestos fibers. But if I were working on this building, I would not proceed without the material being tested.


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