Thursday, June 18, 2009

Asbestos in Montana

My cousin used to live in Montana. Now, she lives in Alaska and loves it up there. Unless you enjoy the outdoors, you may not enjoy a life in Montana. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the town of Libby, Montana has a serious asbestos problem. The problem is so bad that the EPA has declared a "cleanup emergency" in this town and it will get more than $130 million in cleanup and medical assistance from the Obama administration. Asbestosis isn't your typical "acute" emergency, but I suppose that enough health officials decided that enough was enough.

Here's a snippet from CNN: "The town was heavily contaminated with asbestos-laced dust that federal prosecutors said resulted in more than 200 deaths and 1,000 illnesses. "For decades, the disease and death rate from asbestosis in the Libby area was staggeringly high -- much higher than the national average... EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy said $6 million from the Department of Health and Human Services will go to local health care providers to screen, diagnose and treat asbestos-related illnesses, while $125 million will go toward cleaning up contaminated areas."

Wow, how do you clean up a mess that started in 1920? The asbestos contamination in that town is being blamed for 200 deaths and 1,000 illnesses. This is going to be a long and arduous clean-up effort. Better late than never.

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