• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Listener Letters

Air Date: Week of

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

Living on Earth dips into our mailbag to hear what listeners have to say about our stories.


CURWOOD: It's Living On Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. Now it's time to hear from you, our listeners. Our recent report on the ongoing problems of asbestos contamination in Libby, Montana, prompted this e-mail from KPBS listener Michelle Jirik in San Diego. "Is asbestos a contaminant of all vermiculite?," she asks. "I am naturally concerned because this would mean my potting shed is full of asbestos dust, as are my potted plants both in and outdoors."

We turned to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for information about potential potting hazards. First, the good news: Not all vermiculite is contaminated. According to the EPA, some vermiculite used for soil mixture does contain a small amount of asbestos, but the risk to consumers is very low. Still, in order to keep exposure to a minimum, the EPA recommends gardeners buy pre-mixed potting soils, a combination of vermiculite and soil. The EPA also suggests that folks who mix vermiculite with soil on their own do so outdoors and keep the mixture damp. Damp soil means less dust, preventing gardeners from breathing in even trace amounts of asbestos.

Vermiculite has also been used in building insulation. If you're concerned about your own home, the EPA suggests calling in a contractor who can test a sample for asbestos contamination.

Questions, comments, we always like to hear your response to our program. Call our listener line anytime at 800.218.9988. Our e-mail address is letters@loe.org. And visit our Web page at www.loe.org. That's www.loe.org.



Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth