The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making ambitious, but overdue plans to survey Libby, Montana and develop a toxicology assessment, risk assessment, and feasibility study for the town’s asbestos situation. The city, once home to a thriving economy based on asbestos mining, has battled an asbestos emergency for years. As early as 2000, the EPA began attempts to rectify the asbestos-contaminated soils and other asbestos-containing materials that have ravaged the community of Libby. After completion of the impending studies, the EPA will have answers to questions like how much amphibole asbestos is allowed to remain after they finish their work and exactly how much more time is needed to conclude the healing process.
Long after closing its doors in 1990, the asbestos-tainted vermiculite mine of W.R. Grace Co. left behind amphibole asbestos that is still harming residents of Libby. Amphibole asbestos, banned for all uses since the 1980s, was commonly found in products such as low density insulating board, cement sheets, and chemical insulation. In evaluating the toxicity of Libby, the EPA will first examine any links between the asbestos and any cancer or noncancerous diseases that resulted. With over 400 reported asbestos-related deaths in Libby, this portion of the study is critical to keep future residents safe and healthy.
The timetable for completion of the three studies is slated for late 2014. Following the toxicology assessment portion of the plan, the risk assessment will take another six months according to toxicologist Deborah McKean. Along with the feasibility study that is currently underway, these final two pieces will allow the EPA to draft cleanup alternatives that mitigate as much risk as possible.
Lincoln County Commissioner Tony Berget is well aware of the EPA’s prior track-record when it comes to hitting these crucial deadlines. In fact, the original risk assessment that was mandated in 2005 was cancelled when the EPA cited that the Libby area was a hazard, but they had no precedent to deal with the asbestos clean-up. Then again in 2007, the EPA missed another deadline to complete a risk assessment. Both the EPA and representatives from Lincoln County are hopeful that everything will be completed as planned this time.
Asbestos exposure presents a very serious health hazard and responsible parties are sometimes too slow to act or are outright negligent. For those suffering from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer, the immense toll of hospital visits, pain to loved ones, and inability to live as you once did is a huge burden. The asbestos attorneys of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown, & Sandler are dedicated to help individuals and families affected by asbestos. We will assist you in recovering the compensation you and your family deserve. Call us at 800-369-0899 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today at a location convenient to you and your family.