July 2022 – About to embark on an asbestos removal project or just completed the abatement?  Read on to learn about a little known, insider industry tip to see if you qualify for getting reimbursed for some of your asbestos abatement costs.

Asbestos Abatement & the Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust

If you are removing vermiculite insulation with confirmed or suspect asbestos from your home or building, you may be entitled to reimbursement for a portion of the cost, benefits of the Zonolite Attic Insulation (ZAI) Trust. There are strict qualification requirements for the reimbursement program, but those who qualify may recover up to 55% of the total abatement cost. Since abatement costs can be in the thousands, it may be worth investigating to see if you qualify.

Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust Background

Zonolite was a very popular trademarked brand of insulation used to insulate millions of homes in the United States between the 1940s and the 1980s. The insulation was made from a naturally-occurring mineral called vermiculite, which was obtained from a mine in Libby, Montana.

The vermiculite was used to make a lightweight and fire-resistant insulation product, which became extremely popular within the construction industry and was used to insulate buildings for several decades.

Unfortunately, it was later discovered that the Libby mine contained an asbestos deposit which had contaminated most of the vermiculite in the area. Since about 70% of the vermiculite mined and sold in the US from 1920 to 1990 came from the Libby mine, buildings today containing vermiculite insulation are assumed to also contain asbestos.

Not all vermiculite contains asbestos, but in the interest of safety and human health, those who encounter vermiculite insulation during a renovation, repair, or demolition project are instructed to manage it as though it is asbestos containing material.

Vermiculite insulation usually has gray-brown or silver-gold coloring, and it looks like small pebbles.

The ZAI Trust Reimbursement Program

In light of these facts, in 2014, The Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust was established by W.R. Grace (owner of Zonolite). The intent of the trust program is to reimburse folks for their legitimate, Zonolite-related asbestos abatement claims, and to educate the public about the potential health effects associated with asbestos-containing vermiculite.

Those who wish to file a claim with the ZAI Trust must prove that the vermiculite in their home is the Zonolite brand. If they no longer have packaging or documentation to prove this, they may submit insulation samples to the Trust for testing.

The criteria and rules are very specific, so if you are going to submit a claim, be sure to follow the steps carefully and thoroughly. ZAI will reimburse a portion of the amount paid out for containment or abatement for those proving Zonolite was used.


A Few Things to Know About the ZAI Reimbursement Program: 

  • If you have vermiculite insulation, while you should be careful to treat it as though it contains asbestos, you cannot automatically assume that it is the Zonolite brand.
  • Only Zonolite vermiculite insulation abatement is included in the ZAI Trust program.
  • If you are not sure if the insulation is Zonolite and do not have proof as such, you may submit a sample to ZAI for free testing.
  • Costs to abate other asbestos containing materials such as pipe insulation, floor tile, adhesive materials, etc., are not included in the ZAI Trust program.
  • Eligible claimants can receive up to 55% of their abatement costs, up to a dedicated maximum allowable amount; see ZAI website for details.
  • The ZAI Trust has a dedicated website full of useful information, including answers to your frequently asked questions, and an infographic with step by step instructions on filing a claim.

Discovering that you have asbestos containing materials in your home or building can be concerning, and if you need to have it removed, it can be quite expensive. According to Allstate, homeowners policies do not usually cover asbestos abatement costs unless part of a covered claim, meaning your insurance policy may cover the abatement if asbestos is discovered during repairs due to a covered loss. The Zonolite Trust is one way that folks can try to recoup some of the cost related to abatement. If you can confirm that the Zonolite brand of vermiculite insulation was used in your home or building, the ZAI Trust has been set up to help ease your financial burden. Good luck!

Sources and Helpful Links:

Zonolite Attic Insulation (ZAI) Website: https://www.zonoliteatticinsulation.com

ZAI Program frequently asked questions: https://www.zonoliteatticinsulation.com/S/FAQs
EPA Asbestos Page:
Asbestos / Mesothelioma Education, Awareness & Advocacy:

Asbestos General FAQs: https://www.absoluteresourceassociates.com/services/air-quality/asbestos/