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Archive for June 18th, 2009

EPA Declares PHE in Libby, Montana

Posted by feww on June 18, 2009

EPA finally declares a public health emergency in and near the Libby, Montana

EPA has declared a public health emergency in and near the city of Libby, Montana, where asbestos contamination in a vermiculite mine has left hundreds of people dead or sickened from lung diseases in the last century.

Libby Public Health Emergency

EPA announces a public health emergency at Libby Asbestos Superfund Site

On June 17, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson issued a Public Health Emergency (PHE) finding at the Libby Asbestos Superfund site in northwest Montana. Over the past several years, hundreds of cases of asbestos-related disease have been documented in the communities of Libby and nearby Troy.

This is the first time EPA has made a finding under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (or Superfund) that conditions at a site constitute a Public Health Emergency. The finding recognizes the serious health impacts from asbestos contamination in Libby. EPA is working closely with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which will help provide needed asbestos-related medical care to Libby and Troy residents.

The following is mirrored from EPA Site

Libby Asbestos: EPA announces a public health emergency at Libby Asbestos Superfund Site

Set in the northwest corner of Montana, 35 miles east of Idaho and 65 miles south of Canada, is the small town of Libby. The town lies in a picturesque valley carved by the Kootenai River and framed by the Cabinet Mountains to the south. Libby has population of less than 3,000, and 12,000 people live within a ten-mile radius. Libby is the Lincoln County seat. The community’s assets include clean water, beautiful scenery, and recreational opportunities such as fishing, hiking, hunting, boating and skiing.

EPA has been working in Libby since 1999 when an Emergency Response Team was sent to investigate local concern and news articles about asbestos-contaminated vermiculite. Since that time, EPA has been working closely with the community to clean up contamination and reduce risks to human health.

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