Vermiculite: a review of the mineralogy and health effects of vermiculite exploitation

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1995 Jun;21(3):397-405. doi: 10.1006/rtph.1995.1054.


Vermiculite is a mica-type mineral that is being used in increasing quantities for insulation, in composite cements, and in horticulture. No serious health risks have been found resulting from the exposure to vermiculite alone nor are any anticipated in view of its long-term chemical durability, even with respect to fibers of vermiculite. Vermiculite ores may contain a variety of other minerals including asbestos, which, if present in significant quantities, could pose a health risk to producers and end users. A variety of regulations are in place that should prevent inadvertent exposure to asbestos in vermiculites, but great care is needed if true asbestos hazards are to be correctly identified. At the same time, vermiculites containing any of a variety amphibole minerals should not be excluded from use because of mistaken identification of these minerals as asbestos. A variety of test methods that have been developed are described and recommendations are made with respect to appropriate action levels for asbestos in vermiculites or other raw materials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum Silicates / adverse effects*
  • Aluminum Silicates / chemistry*
  • Asbestos / adverse effects*
  • Asbestos / chemistry*
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Humans


  • Aluminum Silicates
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • vermiculite
  • Asbestos