EPA Says It Knew About Asbestos-Contaminated Bark and Wood Chips in Libby, Montana

Asbestos Exposure & Bans
Reading Time: 2 mins
Publication Date: 07/18/2011
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us

Testimonials

"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Lashawn
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article

APA

Franz, F. (2020, October 16). EPA Says It Knew About Asbestos-Contaminated Bark and Wood Chips in Libby, Montana. Asbestos.com. Retrieved February 6, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2011/07/18/epa-says-it-knew-about-asbestos-contaminated-bark-and-wood-chips-in-libby-montana/

MLA

Franz, Faith. "EPA Says It Knew About Asbestos-Contaminated Bark and Wood Chips in Libby, Montana." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2011/07/18/epa-says-it-knew-about-asbestos-contaminated-bark-and-wood-chips-in-libby-montana/.

Chicago

Franz, Faith. "EPA Says It Knew About Asbestos-Contaminated Bark and Wood Chips in Libby, Montana." Asbestos.com. Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2011/07/18/epa-says-it-knew-about-asbestos-contaminated-bark-and-wood-chips-in-libby-montana/.

Federal regulators were aware that asbestos-contaminated bark and wood chips in Libby, Montana were being sold and used by local residents and government officials more than three years before they acknowledged it publicly, according to a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency, sent to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus.

Libby is the site of an EPA superfund, the result of the town receiving a “public health emergency” declaration in 2009 in response to the hazards of asbestos exposure and the higher than normal incidence rate of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

After reading a report from The Associated Press discussing the use of the toxic materials, Baucus (D-Montana) requested further clarification from the EPA about the wood products.

In previous statements, the EPA said it knew as early as last fall that wood chips kept at a former lumber mill were being sold by a local economic development official. In a letter Baucus dated July 15, the EPA acknowledged knowing about the sales more than three years ago — as early as October 2007.

Baucus gained a commitment from the EPA that additional tests will be taken to confirm if the bark and wood chips are a health hazard.

“I’m watching to make sure the tests are performed thoroughly and transparently, and I’ll be here to hold EPA’s feet to the fire and make sure their response is up to par,” Baucus said in a statement. “We’ve got to get to the bottom of this quickly so Libby can continue to heal and begin to prosper.”

The EPA committed to perform activity-based sampling for Libby homeowners who have been exposed to the bark; to re-analyze wood chips to measure the quantity of asbestos fibers; and to conduct toxicology assessments for cancer and non-cancer health hazards.

Since the closing of W.R. Grace‘s asbestos-contaminated vermiculite mine in Libby in 1991, an estimated 400 people in the area have passed away from an asbestos-related disease.

paper with magnifying glass
Free Mesothelioma Resources
Get Access to Free Resources for Patients & Loved Ones