LIBBY – Although the primary phase of federal cleanup is completed, health concerns continue in Libby, where residents continue to deal with the aftereffects of asbestos contamination.
The US Environmental Protection Agency completed its major cleanup operations at properties around Libby and Troy last year.
Now, cleanup responsibilities have transitioned to state and local agencies to deal with the remaining contamination in business and residential areas from the old vermiculite mining operations at the WR Grace mine.
But the health concerns over asbestosis continue, with research at the Center for Asbestos Related Disease Clinic.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) announced that an additional $2.5 million for CARD Clinic, focusing on early detection of certain medical conditions related to asbestos exposure, has been secured.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester also announced the federal funding, “This grant provides much-needed funding to cover expensive x-rays and breathing tests, helping them make Lincoln County safer and healthier,” Sen. Tester said in a statement.
Hundreds of Libby residents have died and thousands more have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases since W.R. Grace closed its vermiculite mine in 1990.
The uncovering of widespread contamination in Lincoln County communities in 2000 prompted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place Libby on its Superfund National Priorities List in 2002.
The funding becomes available in September and continues through 2024.