[Plant-education] vermiculite and other dusty materials
David W. Kramer
(by kramer.8 from osu.edu)
Tue Oct 17 16:03:19 EST 2006
You can get useful information from the Vermiculite Association, a
trade organization, at
I would guess that the most cost effective method of controlling dust
inhalation is to buy individual dust respirators and safety glasses
for the workers as suggested on the above web site. Special kinds of
air handling/filtering equipment would probably be much more
expensive and perhaps not as effective.
We use perlite instead of vermiculite and it seems to work as well
for our purposes (inclusion in potting soil to increase drainage and
aeration while still maintaining moisture in the soil). It may have
its own set of health hazards which I have not researched. A good
site for info on Perlite is at
>In designing a new greenhouse, we are concerned about dust during
>mixing and potting operations. This leads to 2 questions -
>1. Can anyone recommend a system for dust removal that could be
>installed over the potting bench? Someone suggested the devices
>used around woodworking machinery. We've heard about "snorkels"
>that are used in medical settings.
>2. I have heard particular concerns about the safety of vermiculite.
>I was "brought up" using vermiculite for seedlings (peas, oats,
>etc.) either in the light or dark when the growth period was just a
>week or two. Are there some types of vermiculite that are of less
>concern? What are people using instead?
>Many thanks. Carl
>Carl S. Pike
>Harry W. and Mary B. Huffnagle Professor of Botany
>Department of Biology Phone (717) 291-3958
>Franklin and Marshall College email CARL.PIKE from FANDM.EDU
>P.O. Box 3003 fax (717) 358-4548
>Lancaster, PA 17604-3003 USA
>Physical address (for UPS, etc.)
>415 Harrisburg Ave.
>Lancaster, PA 17603
>Plant-ed mailing list
>Plant-ed from net.bio.net
David W. Kramer, Ph.D.
Asst. Prof. of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH 44906-1547
Phone: (419) 755-4344 FAX: (419) 755-4367
e-mail: kramer.8 from osu.edu
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