Removal of Zonolite Insulation
April 17, 2005 12:49 PM   Subscribe

I found a bag of Zonolite insulation in my garage attic today, and I remember that the one time I was in my house attic, the floorboards were covered with loose fill insulation. Has anyone had to deal with this before?

Most of the websites I viewed seem to recomend leaving it alone, but to be cautious during renovations. They also said to test it, as not every single bag was laden with asbestos. I kinda want that bag out of garage, but how far do I have to go?
posted by sleslie to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Well, your post was kind of mangled, but I think the answer you're looking for is right here in your own link:

What if I have Zonolite insulation?
Stay away from it. If it's left untouched in the attic, there should be minimal or no risk at all. The asbestos fibres must be airborne to be inhaled. Each time you breathe asbestos fibres into your lungs, you increase the chance of developing health problems.

The fibres can become trapped in the lungs and can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lungs' lining. The risk is linked to exposure. It becomes risky is when you have activities that bring you up in the attic, like storing boxes, anything that disturb the material will cause airborne fibres almost immediately.

According to the U.S. EPA, there are cases of individuals who got asbestosis from four or five significant contacts with the insulation material. Tradesman face a higher risk.

What if I'm renovating?
If you are doing work in the attic yourself, such as remodeling, plumbing or rewiring, you should treat Zonolite as asbestos-containing material. You should wear a proper respirator and change your clothes. You have to make sure the fibres won't spread it to other areas of your home. It is recommended to hire a contractor who is properly equipped to work with asbestos.

What should I do if I think I have Zonolite in my attic?
Do not let children play in the area. Do not sweep the Zonolite or use a normal vacuum cleaner. This will re-circulate the dangerous fibres, which could linger in the air for days. There are vacuum cleaners on the market that come with highly sensitive HEPA filters that will capture the fibres.

In other words, call in the professionals. Check with local contractors, and possibly poison control.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:27 PM on April 17, 2005

if you're talking about the bag, you probably need to contact the local government or a professional waste disposal outfit to ask where would accept asbestos waste. but if it's a sealed bag it's not a problem just sitting there, as far as i can see.

my dad used to be involved in cleaning up asbestos in the roofing industry - in his opinion it was a pity, because the stuff is actually very good at doing what it does and, providing it doesn't become airborne dust, isn't a problem.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:57 PM on April 17, 2005

Mr. Butt: Yeah, my post was rather muddled. I posted within an hour of finding the opened bag of the stuff, and I had visions of those crooked little fibers scratching my lungs up and of my future self becoming bedridden with mesothelioma.

I'll contact the "local government" and get rid of the bag. Thanks!
posted by sleslie at 7:16 AM on April 18, 2005

FYI-the link didn't work for me.

I clicked on [more inside] with many thoughts of all the exciting things you could have found a bag of.

I was somewhat let down.
posted by Sheppagus at 11:21 AM on April 18, 2005

Fine, Sheppagus, you can have the bag of Zonolite. What's your address? ;)
posted by sleslie at 1:41 PM on April 18, 2005

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