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EPA declares health emergency in Montana, federal aid on the way

By Matthew Moran     Jun 17, 2009 in Health
President Obama has declared the town of Libby, Montana under a public health emergency. As many as 200 people have been killed because of asbestos. Federal aid is on the way.
Asbestos from a plant in Libby has contaminated the town and contributed to as many as 200 deaths and 1,000 illnesses.
In response, the EPA and President Obama have declared a public health emergency and are sending $6 million in emergency cleanup and medical aid.
Libby and the nearby town of Troy have been laced with the dust from a mine that has been operating since the 1920s, reports CNN.
The Libby operation began producing vermiculite -- a mineral often used in insulation -- in 1919. But the vermiculite was contaminated with tremolite asbestos, a particularly toxic form of asbestos that has been linked to mesothelioma, a cancer that can attack the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart.
Dust from the plant covered patches of grass, dusted the tops of cars and drifted through the air in a hazy cloud that became a part of residents' daily lives.
A federal jury acquitted the mine's owners for the contamination in May, but the company has paid $250 million to the EPA for the cleanup.
The emergency aid will be sent to local health care providers to help diagnose and treat asbestos related illnesses.
More about Libby montana, Health emergency, Montana, Asbestos
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