[Plant-education] vermiculite and other dusty materials

David W. Kramer via plant-ed%40net.bio.net (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 

Dave Kramer

>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 Chairperson
>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

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list