Vermiculite insulation can be found in many older home attics. This insulation may contain asbestos depending on where it was mined. 70% of the vermiculite insulation sold in the U.S. between 1919 and 1990 came from a mine in Libby, Montana where asbestos contamination occurred. Vermiculite was mined then heat processed to make it expand to many times its original size making it desirable for insulation purposes.
An interesting factoid for us located in Eastern Washington is (Vermiculite Northwest) located in Spokane, Washington processed the vermiculite ore between 1951 and 1973.
So what is recommended if vermiculite is found in your attic or in other areas of your home. This depends on what you are planning to do. If a remodel is planned and the insulation is to be disturbed then testing and professional removal should be considered. In general what is recommended is to not disturb it if possible to limit the chance of air born particles. Here are the recommendations from the EPA website.
Leave vermiculite insulation undisturbed in your attic or in your walls.
Do not store boxes or other items in your attic if it contains vermiculite insulation.
Do not allow children to play in an attic with vermiculite insulation.
Do not attempt to remove the insulation yourself.
Hire a professional asbestos contractor if you plan to remodel or conduct renovations that would disturb the vermiculite in your attic or walls to make sure the material is safely handled and/or removed.
Inspecting for your peace of mind.
Eastern WA Home Inspections
Dennis R Chamberlain
HI #648 SPI #80168