Once again we are seeing the sale of perfectly good homes fail because of vermiculite insulation in the attic. It doesn't matter if it's sealed off or not, people have been made to believe it will give them lung cancer and they walk away from the deal. This is very frusterating for home owners and REALTORs alike.
Health Canada has a very good 2 page article on vermiculite insulation on their website and I suggest everyone read it. Go to www.hc-sc.gc.ca and search "vermiculite". Some highlights:
* not all vermiculite has asbestos in it;
* currently there is no evidence of a health risk if it is sealed behind wall boards, floor boards, in the attic or otherwiswe kept from exposure to the interior of the home
* mica-like material which was good insulation with fire-resistant properties
* not widely used after the mid 80's
* only if asbestos fibres are present in the air you are breathing is there a health risk. If tightly bound in floor tiles or siding there is no significant health risk.
So if someone tells you to remove the asbestos siding from your house, or take up your vinyl - asbestos floor tiles, because of the health risk, tell them to read the article on Health Canada's website.