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Monday,July 06,2020 19:40 PM

Vermicide stoves could cause lung cancer

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th May 2006 03:00 AM

Researchers have recently discovered that vermiculite soil material used in making energy-saving stoves contains asbestos that can cause health problems when inhaled into the lungs.

Researchers have recently discovered that vermiculite soil material used in making energy-saving stoves contains asbestos that can cause health problems when inhaled into the lungs.

By Louise Nalugwa
Researchers have recently discovered that vermiculite soil material used in making energy-saving stoves contains asbestos that can cause health problems when inhaled into the lungs.
If products containing asbestos are disturbed, thin, light-weight asbestos fibres are released into the air, which may be breathed into the lungs.
Continued exposure to asbestos increases the amount of fibres that remain in the lung tissue over time, which may result into lung diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma. Smoking also increases one’s risk of developing illness from asbestos exposure.
What is vermiculite?
Vermiculite is the mineralogical name given to hydrated laminar magnesium-aluminum-ironsilicate, which resembles mica in appearance.
It is found in predominant commercial mines.
Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that has the unusual property of expanding into worm-like accordion-shaped pieces when heated. The expanded vermiculite is a light-weight, fire-resistant, absorbent and odourless material. These properties allow vermiculite to be used to make numerous products, including attic insulation. Vermiculite can be purchased in various forms for various uses. Sizes of vermiculite products range from very fine particles to large (coarse) pieces nearly an inch long.
Vermiculite attic insulation is a pebble-like, pour-in product and is usually light-brown or gold in colour. In USA, there are scientific reports concerning vermiculite soils.

In Uganda, vermiculite has been used as a fertiliser for a long time. It is also used to make energy- saving stoves. For instance, Mohammed Kawere of the Urban Community Agency in Kibuye-Makindye makes stoves by using 75% vermiculite mixed with 25% clay. The stove is claimed to reduce heat loss by 75% as compared to the normal clay and soil-made stove. The stoves are also said to be long-lasting –– between five to 10 years.
Although a report from the Schundler Company in the US says studies provide no scientific basis for the statements that vermiculite products contain asbestos, a review of a sampling and Analysis of Consumer Garden Products that contain vermiculite and a study by EPA region 10 in Washington, dated July 26, 2000, indicate that “commonly used vermiculite might have asbestos, that vermiculite should be used outdoors and dampened to avoid generating dust and that occupational exposures should be investigated further”.
The report indicates that since the publication of these studies, the vermiculite industry in the US has suffered.
Ends

Vermicide stoves could cause lung cancer

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