EPA Announces Asbestos Emergency in Libby, Montana


photo via www.adrworks.com

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today announced that her agency has determined that a public health emergency exists in Montana's little town of Libby. The town has suffered hundreds of asbestos-related disease cases and will now have $6 million dollars to help clean it up. From the EPA press release:

Investigations performed by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry have found the incidence of occurrence of asbestosis, a lung condition, in the Libby area staggeringly higher than the national average for the period from 1979-1998. EPA is working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services, which is making available a short-term grant to provide needed asbestos-related medical care to Libby and Troy residents.

Jackson had previously committed to reviewing the situation. As a result of the EPA's review, "the Administrator has decided that conditions at the site present a significant threat to public health and that making a public health emergency determination is appropriate."

Montana Senators Tester and Baucus have been loud advocates for action at the site. CNN reports that a site in the town first began producing vermiculite -- a mineral often used in insulation -- in 1919. People lived with the dust on their cars and in their homes but it has lead to countless illnesses and deaths.

More on Asbestos:
Canadian Government an "Avid Cheerleader" for Asbestos (But Not In Its Own Backyard)
Microwave Popcorn: The Next Asbestos

Tags: EPA | Pollution