Libby, Montana has been issued an asbestos cleanup order by the EPA (Enviromental Protection Agency) and the order is being backed by the Obama Administration with $6 million in cleanup and medical assistance funding under a “public health emergency” declared.
Libby, Montana, is the site of a mine opened in 1919, producing vermiculite which is a mineral commonly used in various forms of insulation. But the vermiculite ore was contaminated with a substance called tremolite asbestos, a particularly toxic form of asbestos that is linked to mesothelioma, a cancer that can attack the lining of the lungs, abdomen and heart.
Over 200 deaths and 1000 illnesses in Libby can be attributed directly to the contaminated dust stirred up by the mining, storage, processing and transportation of the mineral and waste material, or slag as it’s known in the mining industry.
The EPA is currently assessing the situation to figure out the extent of the cleanup operations in Libby.