• EPA has successfully cleaned up several
of the town's most affected residences.
All residential and business cleanups in
Libby are expected to be complete in 2005.
• In a coordinated effort involving EPA,
other federal, state and local agencies, all
of Libby's citizens were eligible for x-rays,
lung function tests, and interviews
designed to better understand how people
may have been exposed to asbestos.
• To date, Superfund has committed more
than $56 million to clean up Libby and the
In a Montana Town, Working
to Correct Years of
n northwestern Montana, seven miles northeast of the town of
Libby, lies a vermiculite mine that operated for a century before shutting
down in 1990.
as a soil conditioner, vermiculite from the mine was eventually found to be
contaminated with a toxic form of naturally-occurring asbestos fibers.
Hundreds of former mine workers and Libby residents have been diag
nosed with asbestos related disease. Many have died of illness caused by
(EPA) is partnering with other federal and state agencies to clean up years
of contamination at areas affected by the mine's operation, as well as areas
where contaminated vermiculite was placed—including homes and busi
nesses in Libby.
Contaminated Vermiculite Distributed
During peak production, as much as 80 percent of the world's supply of
vermiculite came from the northwest Montana mine.
people in Libby received vermiculite free of charge from W.R. Grace (the
company that acquired the mine in 1963) and used it liberally in businesses
and homes as insulation, in gardens as a soil conditioner, and as fill for
school running tracks and football fields as well as other construction
An Emergency Response is Needed
In November 1999, responding to local concerns regarding asbestos-
contaminated vermiculite and related illness and death, EPA sent an
Emergency Response team to Libby.
collected nearly 700 samples of the