Asbestos Contamination at Libby

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In November 18, 1999, the newspaper Seattle Post Intelligencer broke a story on mass deaths for a long period. It was described as deaths due to occupational and non-occupational exposure to tremolite asbestos dust from vermiculite mining activities in Libby Montana.


There are six asbestos minerals and these are Actinolite, Amosite, Anthophyllite, Crocidolite, Chrysotile, and the deadliest Tremolite. When these tiny dust-like particles at about 1 micron in diameter are inhaled, they penetrate the lung tissue and stay permanently. When accumulated, they eventually scar the lungs, called asbestosies, or cause a cancer of the pleura or lining of the lung, called mesethelioma. These diseases are incurable and terminal with metheselioma directly and exclusively linked to asbestos dust exposure. (Peacock, 2003).
The GAO (2003) acknowledged that its study was conducted as records showed that between 1979 and 1998, the number of deaths in Libby, Montana from lung disease asbestosis was 40 to 80 times higher all over the United States. In the investigation, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported contamination of asbestos in vermiculite ore processing in Libby. By year 2001, about 18 percent of current and former Libby residents who received x-rays were identified having asbestos related lung abnormalities as per record of the Department of health and Human Services (GAO, 2003).
The mining company responsible was W.R. Grace. The business mining operations began in 1923. W.R. ...
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