Vermiculite Analysis

Vermiculite Analysis Method Approved by NYS DOH

Our experts have developed a new method for vermiculite analysis that grew from our long history with asbestos analysis. Dr. Richard J. Lee, founder of RJ Lee Group, was a member of the EPA’s peer-review panel contributing to development of the Yamate method for asbestos, and served on the EPA’s committee that drafted the transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analytical method for the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools rule. This rule was promulgated by the EPA in 1987 under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) regulation.

Given RJ Lee Group’s extensive knowledge and experience in characterizing asbestos, these calls to action prompted its experts to again advance testing technology for asbestos by developing LAB.055.1*, the first method validated and certified by NYS DOH to be capable of accurately detecting and quantifying low levels of asbestos in spray-on fireproofing containing vermiculite, or SOF-V. Most recently, the state has approved a less rigorous method, 198.8.

LAB.055.1 is the only method that can be used as an alternative to 198.8. In addition, RJ Lee Group is the only laboratory accredited by NYS DOH to perform the LAB.055.1 method. This analysis is the only approved method capable of distinguishing between regulated and unregulated asbestos, thereby avoiding “false positives” that can result when non-regulated minerals are found in the final asbestos content, or false negatives stemming from lack of dissolution of the vermiculite.

The History

The primary source for vermiculite prior to 1990 was a mine located in Montana, which was later discovered to contain deposits of naturally-occurring asbestos. Heavy use of vermiculite in construction products following World War II resulted in millions of homes and commercial buildings having some form of vermiculite-containing material suspected to be asbestos-containing materials, or ACM.

Both the EPA and state agencies caution property owners against relying on current vermiculite analysis results when determining whether a vermiculite-containing material is ACM.

What’s Needed Now

After October 31, 2014 building owners and contractors in New York State must use one of the new analytical methods for all future projects involving the demolition, renovation, remodeling and/or repair of buildings that fall under NYS Industrial Code Rule 56. Projects with an existing survey, and in various stages of activity, must follow NYS DOH “Testing Requirements for Sprayed-on Fireproofing Containing Vermiculite (SOF-V)” (July 22, 2014).

To view the Certificate of Approval for Laboratory Service from New York State, please click here.