Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals, which were heavily mined beginning at the end of the 19th century. These minerals were then used in building and insulation for their soundproofing and fireproofing qualities. There was a problem, however, in that prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other diseases. The Claims Journal reports on a Montana town that has been infected with asbestos due to mining and the massive cleanup that has been undertaken by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and will soon be transferred over to the state.
Health officials say that hundreds of people have died as the result of becoming sick due to asbestos in Libby, Montana. The town is home to about 2,700 people and is located near the border with Idaho.
The asbestos in question came from a W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine, which operated just outside of Libby. The material remains in the soil and in the walls of many of the houses in Libby and the nearby city of Troy.
The EPA began a concentrated cleanup effort in 1999 and has since removed more than a million cubic yards of contaminated dirt and building materials from 2,500 properties.
The work has been conducted under the EPA’s Superfund program, which presides over the cleanup of highly contaminated sites. The cleanup is expected to be finished by next summer according to a spokesperson from the EPA.
The total cost of the cleanup has reached $575 million. As the EPA prepares to remove the site from the Superfund list, the state and local agencies need to come up with a plan to deal with future asbestos discoveries.
Some of the money earmarked for future cleanup comes from a settlement from the W.R. Grace bankruptcy case.
Officials estimate that as many as 400 people have died and 3,000 have become sick from asbestos exposure.
Have you been diagnosed with a disease related to asbestos? Let the law offices of John Foy & Associates fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We can help you. Call today.