Is your vermiculite attic insulation contaminated with asbestos?

Sedexlab provides vermiculite sampling and laboratory analysis services to determine whether or not the attic insulation material (ZONOLITE®) is contaminated with asbestos. In Quebec, any material with an asbestos concentration of at least 0.1% is considered as a material containing asbestos.

Vermiculite contains asbestos until proven otherwise! Lightweight, odorless and flame retardant, this material has been used extensively since the 1920s in the insulation of homes and buildings across North America. It was later found that up until 1990, this material, often sold under the brand name “Zonolite”, originated from the mines in Libby, Montana, known to have produced asbestos-containing vermiculite. Vermiculite in buildings dating from the 1920s to the early 1990s must therefore be presumed to contain asbestos.

Prolonged exposure to asbestos has been linked to many cases of lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. In fact, Health Canada has raised concerns and warnings about vermiculite from the Libby mines.

Cost of a vermiculite test
$275.00 Includes inspection, report and first sample analyzed
$90.00 Per additional sample analyzed*


Appointment: 1-2 days notice

(emergency appointments available)

Results: 1-2 days following sampling date


  • Sampling carried out by a qualified Sedexlab technician
  • Visual inspection conducted by a qualified Sedexlab technician
  • Collection of three (3) separate samples * in the attic
  • Duration of the visit: approximately 20-30 minutes
  • In accordance with IRSST method 243.1.


* The analysis of samples in the laboratory ceases with the 1st sample tested positive.

Schedule Sampling

What You Obtain

A detailed expert report describing:

  • Identification and visual inspection of the building
  • Confirmation of the presence or absence of asbestos in the sampled vermiculite
  • The type of asbestos and its concentration
  • General site layout with sample locations
  • Laboratory analysis reports
  • Conclusions and recommendations on the management of asbestos-containing vermiculite, if applicable.


Do you prefer to sample yourself? *

1) Download the Customer Sampling PDF form Échantillonnage-client

2) Complete and attach the form to the samples.

Price: $ 145 for the first sample and $ 90 per additional sample analyzed

Results: 48 hours from receipt of samples.

* Sedexlab does not guarantee the origin of the samples and is not responsible for the sampling methods used.

Our Work Process

The only way to confirm if vermiculite contains asbestos is to have it sampled by a qualified technician and have it analyzed by a certified laboratory.


  • Sedexlab will send a technician on site to perform the visual inspection and to meticulously and safely sample the vermiculite insulation in the attic.
  • To preserve the scientific value of the analysis, three (3) separate samples of vermiculite insulation are taken from different areas of the attic. Multiple sampling can better identify mixtures of asbestos-containing and asbestos-free vermiculite that a single sampling would potentially overlook.
  • The samples are entrusted to a certified independent laboratory accredited by the IRSST.
  • Asbestos is identified using polarized light microscopy according to IRSST method 244-3. Any material with an asbestos concentration of at least 0.1% is considered as a material containing asbestos (L.R.Q., c. S 2.1, r.4, art. 1.1.12)
  • Sedexlab submits the samples to the laboratory using a procedure in which the sequence of analyzes ends with the first positive result. The remaining samples are therefore not analyzed and are presumed to contain a similar amount of asbestos.

Our Approach

  • Professionals always available to answer your questions
  • Competitive fees and fast turnaround times
  • Expert reports written in layperson’s terms
  • Clear and well laid out conclusions and recommendations
  • High priority on cleanliness, safety and courtesy at our clients’ premises
  • Impartiality, integrity and professionalism in all aspects of our work


Vermiculite testing involves sampling the suspect insulation material in the attic to confirm the absence or presence of asbestos in harmful amounts, by means of laboratory analyzes. These analyzes are carried out in accordance with IRSST analytical method 244-3.

Homeowners and home inspectors have legitimate reasons for having vermiculite insulation tested for asbestos. Here are the main ones:


  • You are considering selling your home
  • Vermiculite insulation will be affected by future renovations or home modification
  • Dust leaks out of the attic or walls through joints, ducts or light fixtures
  • The attic is used as a living or storage space with frequent entrances and exits


Since vermiculite found in a building dating 1990 and earlier is presumed to contain asbestos, certain precautions must be taken when performing the sampling work. It is therefore preferable that the samples be taken in an appropriate manner by qualified technicians in order to guarantee their origin and to avoid contaminating the environment.

If you suspect any asbestos-containing material, call today and have it tested immediately.

Vermiculite is typically found in the attic of a residential building dating 1990 and earlier. However, it can also be found in walls and sub floors.

No. Based on our experience and case history, we estimate that about half of vermiculite-based insulation in Quebec contains asbestos, with concentrations of 1 to 5% asbestos.

There is a test specifically designed to verify the quality of air potentially contaminated with material containing asbestos. This test consists of sampling and analyzing the air in a building to determine if the concentration of asbestos fibers meets current standards. Contact one of our professionals to find out more.

There is no law or regulation that requires you to remove vermiculite from your home. However, if your vermiculite contains asbestos, it is very important not to release fibers when moving the insulation. If you wish to remove it, it is strongly recommended that you hire a firm specializing in the removal of materials containing asbestos to avoid contaminating your home and its occupants.

There is no demonstrated risk if the vermiculite is sealed in wall panels, in the floor or else insulated in the attic with other types of insulation. However, you must take all necessary precautions if you plan to undertake renovation or demolition work.

Asbestos-containing vermiculite was typically sourced from mines in Libby, Montana. It was mined and marketed from the 1920s to the very early 1990s throughout North America. Buildings insulated with vermiculite during this period are therefore presumed to contain it.

As vermiculite was marketed and sold in bags, it would be plausible that the vermiculite in your attic comes from different sources.   It is therefore recommended that a minimum of three (3) separate samples be taken from different areas of the attic to increase the degree of certainty of the test results.

Since our technicians are experienced and use meticulous and safe sampling methods, you will have nothing to worry about when it comes to your health during sampling work.

When asbestos-containing vermiculite is found, there are two options: seal all openings between the ceiling and the attic, or have it removed by a specialized company. The first option will be the least expensive, but consider that the presence of asbestos could affect the resale value of your house.

The human health effects of prolonged and unsafe asbestos exposure are well documented. Asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and transported to the lower part of the lungs, where they can cause pulmonary fibrosis (asbestosis) as well as changes in the lining of the chest cavity (pleura). These diseases can lead to reduced respiratory function and even death. Long-term inhalation of asbestos fibers also increases the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma. The people who are most likely to have asbestos-related health problems are those who are exposed to high concentrations of asbestos, those who are exposed to it for prolonged periods of time and those who are exposed to asbestos more frequently.