Posts Tagged ‘Libby’

Libby Asbestos Superfund Advisory Team holds inaugural meeting

27 Sep 2017 by under News

Libby Montana Eagles 1 100x100 Libby Asbestos Superfund Advisory Team holds inaugural meetingThe state of Montana entered the next step of remediation plans with the inaugural meeting of the Libby Asbestos Superfund Advisory Team last week. (more…)

Wildfire threatens Libby asbestos mine

15 Sep 2017 by under News
20090617 libbymineCREDITEPA 100x100 Wildfire threatens Libby asbestos mine

Credit: EPA

What happens when a former asbestos mine catches on fire? It’s a question those fighting fires nearing Libby, Montana, the home of the former W.R. Grace & Co. asbestos mine, have had to address this week. News reports earlier this week discussed concerns the nearing West Fork Fire was causing due to its proximity to the mine and potential to release amounts of asbestos into the air. (more…)

$25 million settlement over asbestos exposure reached against state of Montanta

24 Jan 2017 by under News

640px Vermiculite1 100x100 $25 million settlement over asbestos exposure reached against state of Montanta Last week more than 1,000 workers, family members and community members sickened by a vermiculite mine near Libby, Montana, settled with the state of Montana for a total of $25 million.

The Flathead Beacon reports the settlements stem from nearly 100 lawsuits, each involving multiple claimants, brought against the state for failing to warn citizens of the hazards of the asbestos-contaminated W.R. Grace and Co. mine, which operated for decades outside of the town. The recent settlements follow another in 2011 for $43 million. The recent plaintiffs had not been diagnosed when the 2011 settlement with the state was reached. (more…)

Libby, Montana asbestos case to be reviewed by Workman’s Compensation Court

28 Jan 2015 by under Legal, News

forest libby 100x100 Libby, Montana asbestos case to be reviewed by Workman’s Compensation CourtIn 2009, Edwin Moreau died of asbestos-related lung cancer after working at W.R. Grace Mine in Libby, Mont., for almost 30 years. Since he became ill, his wife, Cristita Moreau, has been battling to secure her husband’s benefits to cover his medical expenses. Initially, her claim for occupational disease benefits was refused by Transportation Insurance, W.R. Grace’s company covering claims from sick workers. In 2010, Moreau filed a petition with the Workman’s Compensation Court, which resulted in a settlement in 2013. (more…)

Naturally occurring asbestos fibers discovered in rocks and dust in Nevada

8 Jan 2014 by under News, Research/Treatment

actinolite asbestos 100x100 Naturally occurring asbestos fibers discovered in rocks and dust in NevadaA team of geologists from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) are examining an area in Southern Nevada where naturally occurring asbestos fibers have been discovered in rocks and dust. The area under investigation stretches from Boulder City to the southeastern edge of the Las Vegas Valley, which encompasses about 1,200 square miles. (more…)

Libby, Montana, still waiting on EPA risk assessment of asbestos Superfund site

19 Aug 2013 by under Events, News, Organizations

asbestos warning 100x100 Libby, Montana, still waiting on EPA risk assessment of asbestos Superfund siteDespite initial promises to deliver its Human Health Risk Assessment of the Libby, Mont., asbestos Superfund cleanup site in 2005, last week representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the final report would not be ready until late 2014. Residents of Libby have been struggling for more than a decade to recover from massive amphibole asbestos contamination that likely caused the deaths and serious illnesses of hundreds of residents. (more…)

Logging Libby: can asbestos-contaminated trees be harvested safely?

19 Nov 2012 by under News, Research/Treatment

forest libby 100x100 Logging Libby: can asbestos contaminated trees be harvested safely?A new feasibility study examines the possibility of logging some 35,000 acres of timber surrounding the town of Libby, Montana. Libby is the site of the former W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite asbestos mine, and now the largest and most deadly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund cleanup site in the United States. (more…)

Future tied up in past as asbestos deaths continue in Libby

30 Dec 2009 by under News

As part of its look back at the year 2009, the Missioulian newspaper spoke with residents of Libby, Montana, the “poster child” for mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. Libby and its people have been decimated by asbestos exposure from the vermiculite mine that for generations operated in the town. Even those who did not work in the mine were affected, as asbestos dust blanketed the town, spilled from trucks and railway cars, and asbestos particles were used as landfill throughout the town.

W.R. Grace & Company operated the mine. In 2009, the company and several of its officers were brought up on criminal charges, but a jury returned a verdict of “not guilty.” Many following the trial closely said the government botched its case against the company, and others argued Grace’s deep pockets simply outpaced the efforts of a handful of government lawyers.

The aquittal was another in a long line of emotional blows for Libby residents, who hoped to see W.R. Grace finally brought to justice for the devastation of their hometown, their families and loved ones. Generations of Libby residents have already died of mesothelioma, and many more are currently suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and a host of other ailments caused by longterm exposure to asbestos.

On June 17, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finally declared a public health emergency in Libby. This designation – the first of its kind in American history – will allow the government to increase funds to provide for medical treatment for Libby residents, and for research into asbestos disease. According to the Missoulian, Libby has already received $6 million, which is designated for patient screening and care, and the town is set to receive an additional $2 million for health care and home care assistance. The paper reports the asbestos health care clinic – the Center for Asbestos Related Diseases (CARD) – and the local hospital are planning expansions.

At the beginning of December, a series of town hall meetings were held, hoping to address important questions about safety and health, including whether or not the government’s clean-up efforts are truly making any difference.

For residents who already have seen husbands, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives die terrible deaths from asbestos disease, it is too little too late. They try to remain strong, but they are angry, and sad, and it’s hard to hold onto hope.

Read the full article by Missoulian reporter Micheal Jamison.

Montana newspaper series takes a look at Libby today

9 Dec 2009 by under News

A series of stories in the Daily Inter Lake, which serves Northwest Montana and which initially broke the story about widespread asbestos contamination of the town of Libby, Mont., in 1999, is featuring a series of stories about the town. The feature is related to a recent town hall style meeting organized by the University of Montana, which is seeking to get clarification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about just how much toxicity remains in the town.

The town hall meeting, which was held Dec. 6, featured a panel discussion about the deadly fallout from town’s vermiculite asbestos mine, which was operated for years by W.R. Grace & Company. Even those who didn’t work in the mine were exposed to asbestos, as dust from the mine covered the surrounding area, railroad tracks and roads used to transport the materials. Asbestos was even used as filler for gardens and ballparks.

According to the Daily Inter Lake report, more than 300 deaths have been linked to asbestos exposure from the vermiculite mine. A special health clinic established by the EPA after the story broke about the widespread asbestos disease affecting Libby area residents is currently treating about 2,800 patients with varying levels of asbestos disease.

Dr. Brad Black, who oversees patient care at the clinic, called the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD), says it’s impossible to really determine how many people have been affected by asbestos in Libby, because around 80,000 people “came and went in Libby while the mine was operating,” the paper reports.

Because of the long latency period of asbestos disease – which includes conditions such as asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs that impedes lung function and limits breathing, and mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs or, more rarely, the abdomen or heart – which is sometimes as long as 30 or 40 years, Black estimates cases will continue to emerge well into the future, through the year 2030.

Since the asbestos contamination of Libby was brought to light, it has been a roller-coaster ride for area residents. The EPA has spent more than $206 million to date to clean up residential and commercial properties. In June, Libby was declared a public health emergency, which is the first time the agency has made such a determination under the 1980 Superfund law. This will allow more money to be put into the town’s cleanup efforts.

However, there are still lingering questions about just how effective these cleanup efforts really are. The EPA has divided the Libby Superfund site into eight geographical units, and has so far only completed cleanup on two of those units. However, some scientists argue that the type of asbestos affecting Libby – amphibole – is much more toxic than chrysotile asbestos, and that cleanup efforts are being conducted using old research on the wrong type of asbestos.

The Daily Inter Lake reports that EPA officials have admitted they are using toxicology assessments from 1985 data on less toxic asbestos, not Libby asbestos. This is despite a more recent study completed in 2003, which “established exposure benchmarks for mesothelioma and lung cancer based on asbestos epidemiologic studies,” the news agency reports.

According to the paper, federal government risk assessment standards say cleanup efforts are necessary when there is evidence of one death per 10,000 people. In Libby, where the population is around 10,000 people, there have already been 31 deaths just from mesothelioma. This doesn’t even take into account the suffering and death from other asbestos-related diseases.

The asbestos contamination also has been a see-saw on the legal front. In May, W.R. Grace & Co. and several of its top leaders were acquitted of criminal charges related to the widespread asbestos disease affecting its residents. Nearly 800 people still have pending civil suits against the company, which have been delayed by bankrupcy claims on the part of Grace. The company is expected to emerge from bankruptcy in January.

Testimony resulting from the bankruptcy trial in October revealed that there is a 59 percent probability of death for Libby residents exposed to asbestos dust.

“No other place on the planet has that,” the Daily Inter Lake quotes attorney John Heberling, who is representing asbestos clients.

This is a fascinating and tragic series of stories, and I encourage you to visit the Daily Inter Lake online to read the full series. It includes a feature on Gayla Benefield, who, along with compatriot , began the campaign to expose the Libby contamination and lobby for justice for the town. Here are just a few of the links:

What is a safe dose for Libby?
What’s next for Libby?
Asbestos victims try to stay upbeat
Advocate’s work for asbestos victims spans 35 years
Grace lawsuit claimants still in limbo

Registration now open for ADAO Sixth Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference

2 Dec 2009 by under Events, News, Organizations

adao logo Registration now open for ADAO Sixth Annual International Asbestos Awareness ConferenceThe Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization has announced registration is now open for its Sixth Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference. The conference is scheduled for April 9-11, 2010 in Chicago, Ill. This annual event brings together renowned doctors, scientists, researchers and asbestos victims and their families in a united forum for asbestos awareness, education and collaboration. Each year the event coincides with national Asbestos Awareness Day, April 1.

In addition to providing educational information, advocacy support, a special remembrance ceremony and networking opportunities, each year the conference honors individuals or organizations that have demonstrated outstanding work and dedication to asbestos awareness related activities. ADAO has announced this year’s honorees:

  • The Honorable Richard Durbin, United States Senator – Tribute of Hope Award
  • Dr. Hedy Kindler – Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD), Libby, Montana – Tribute of Unity Award
  • Fernanda Giannasi – Tribute of Inspiration Award
  • June Breit (posthumous) – The Alan Reinstein Memorial Award

At the conference, the ADAO also will announce the recipient of the Warren Zevon “Keep Me in Your Heart” Memorial Tribute.

“I’ve received countless requests for my father’s song, ‘Keep Me in Your Heart,’ to be used at memorials for asbestos victims,” said ADAO Spokesperson Jordan Zevon. Jordan is the son of Warren Zevon, acclaimed singer and songwriter, who died of mesothelioma in 2003. “You can imagine how proud it makes me to know that my father’s Grammy winning song has touched so many families, but it is bittersweet because of the nature of those requests. In his honor, I will continue to work with ADAO to ban asbestos to spare future generations from the same fate.”

“As we get closer to a full asbestos ban, we are encouraged, yet simultaneously reminded that the reverberations of asbestos exposure can last decades,” said Linda Reinstein, Co-Founder and Executive Director of ADAO. “Our annual conferences drive home the importance of the need for increased awareness, education and research.”

Additional conference details are available on the ADAO web site, and online registration is available at

The International Asbestos Awareness Conference is made possible with the support and collaborative efforts of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS).