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Vermiculite Question


New Member
I don't know where this question is supposed to go but, I use vermiculite to incubate my crested gecko eggs. Then when I got my medical and was looking into growing I noticed that people were using vermiculite as a growing medium. Point being Is anyone aware that studies done by the EPA have shown small traces of asbestos in vermiculite? Granted not ALL vermiculite has traces of asbestos in it but.... That being said even tho the risk is low, is it still safe to grow in vermiculite? I have been warned that it can kill my gecko babies.

This is what I found with some searching
Vermiculite Garden Products
Is there asbestos in the vermiculite sold for gardening uses?
Not all vermiculite garden products contain asbestos, but an EPA study showed that some contain low levels of asbestos. Asbestos was found primarily in the unmixed vermiculite product sold separately as a soil amendment. However, some was found in premixed potting soils. Because the Libby mine closed in 1990, newer products are not expected to contain significant amounts of asbestos. It is possible, however, that some older products could still be on store shelves.

What precautions should I take?
Although the health risk to home gardeners is low, the following precautions are suggested:

Use premixed potting soil because it contains more moisture and less vermiculite and therefore reduces the amount of dust that might contain asbestos.
Keep vermiculite moist while using it to minimize dust and the possibility of releasing asbestos fibers into the air.
Handle the material outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
Avoid bringing dust into the house on clothing or shoes.
Try alternatives to vermiculite, such as peat moss, sawdust, perlite, or bark.
For more information, contact ATSDR at: 1-888-422-8737 or e-mail: atsdric@cdc.gov (public inquiries)

Droopy Dog

New Member
I quit using vermiculite over 30 years ago simply because it retains too much moisture in my peat based mix.

IMO, it works well in seed starting mixes and that's it.




Nug of the Month: June 2012
I've used vermiculite in a worm castings mix 40% castings 30% perlite and 30% vermiculite and it seemed to work fine. But I'm with Droopy Dog, if you are using a peat or coco based mix you just don't need it. It's usually added when you want to retain more moisture in a mix.

That being said, asbestos is only dangerous when you inhale it, so don't inhale the dust!:) Seriously though, if there are only "traces" of asbestos in it you are probably doing just as much damage to your lungs as if you inhaled pure vermiculite dust or perlite dust for that matter.

I still have a couple of bags in the the basement, I thought of using it to root cuttings just to use it up since I don't add it to my soil mix any more.


New Member
vermeculite is not asbestos. its an asbestos substitute. there are 5 types of asbestos. chrysotile, amosite, crocidilite, tremolite and actinolite. the first 3 being the most commonly used for insulation,fireproofing, floor tile, linoleum sheetrock roofing products old oven mits etc.
but it is not good for your lungs. its similar to silica.
its now used in most of those constuction products i just mentioned.
but when its wet its completely harmless.
widely used in aggriculture. if using dry, a regular dust mask if fine and wash your hands. its good for growing among other things. it just a matter of opion.:peace2:
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