Fire Destroys Fire-Proof Materials Factory in Edison

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edison factory fire.jpgOn Sunday, the Schundler Company, described as a 'horticultural manufacturer,' took a serious hit when fire did heavy damage to their Edison buildling.

The perlite and vermiculite aggregates that are created there have been used in fire-proofing products for decades. According to their website, "[These are used for]  fire-proof plasters. Traditionally "plaster" had been

made from a mix of gypsum plaster and sand . . . the problem with sand plaster is that in a fire the sand "explodes" and cracks, and can be easily destroyed.In contrast, perlite and vermiculite plaster can offer a product which is both lightweight and fire-proof. . . . these plasters were used primarily in large, urban construction where the combined benefits of weight reduction and fire-proofing [strengthened] fire-proof steel beams, columns, and floors."

Doesn't vermiculite contain asbestos? How might this affect Metuchen's air quality?

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From Wikipedia: Vermiculite is a natural mineral that expands with the application of heat...Pure vermiculite does not contain asbestos and is non-toxic.

If you want to know if the company used Vermiculite that may have some asbestos contamination (which seems to have been a problem in the past but is likely regulated now), you should write them to ask in your capacity as a blogger/journalist.

As far as "air quality", whatever minor effect the burned material might have had on the local air, it was certainly transient. I wouldn't worry about it unless you happen to be standing downwind of the fire as it was raging...

I'd say that irony is a more prominent feature of this story than risk.

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