CARD Clinic to Release New Asbestos Research in 2024

Research & Clinical Trials

The Center for Asbestos Related Disease has begun work on a series of new research articles scheduled to be released throughout 2024. The content will center around new studies concerning asbestos and autoimmune disease. 

The articles will reveal details discovered in analyzing the health impact of people exposed to amphibole asbestos from Libby, Montana. This type of asbestos found in the former mining town takes less exposure to cause cancer than other types of the mineral such as chrysotile asbestos, which makes amphibole even more dangerous.

CARD’s first article is expected to be released in January 2024. The upcoming content will continue the organization’s mission to educate both medical professionals and the public about asbestos. The CARD Clinic has been in operation since 2000 with a team of doctors, nurses, specialists and researchers providing care and resources for people in Libby.

Asbestos Mining in Libby Montana

In 1919 Libby Montana became popular for vermiculite mining. The mineral can easily become contaminated with asbestos since it forms alongside asbestos veins. Workers, residents in Libby, and people in the nearby town of Troy, all became exposed to toxic asbestos dust.

Mining in Libby eventually stopped in 1990. Around 2,400 people in total across the area were diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. A 2021 Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology report shows nearly 700 residents died from mesothelioma, asbestosis or asbestos-related lung cancer.

Mining company W.R. Grace filed for bankruptcy in 2001 following multiple lawsuits, including suits related to its Libby mine. W.R. Grace created a $3 billion trust fund in 2014 to compensate people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases and their loved ones. Libby and nearby areas were declared a Superfund site in 2002 and the city was put on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List. W.R. Grace agreed to an $18.5 million settlement in 2023 to help restore damage done to the area.

CARD’s Recent Legal Trouble

Montana lawmakers designated CARD as a Center of Excellence in May 2023. Just one month later in June 2023, a federal jury found CARD guilty of filing false claims. The clinic was accused of filing 337 false claims allowing patients to take advantage of Medicare and other benefits they weren’t entitled to receive. 

The nonprofit was required to pay nearly $6 million in penalties and damages. In August 2023 CARD filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. CARD BoardVice President LeRoy Thom told the Western News that the bankruptcy filing will allow the clinic to continue operations and serve patients. 

“We did so as a necessary shield to safeguard assets pending the outcome of an appeal,” said CARD Executive Director Tracy McNew. “CARD’s notice of appeal was filed on July 20, but it could take over a year to be ruled on by the Ninth Circuit Court.” 

“Bankruptcy will allow CARD to continue offering its services and paying its employees during the appeal process,” McNew explained. “My understanding is that depending on the appeal’s outcome, CARD could come out of bankruptcy because the judgment is lifted, or CARD could be restructured with a plan to resolve our debts over time while continuing to offer our services.”

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