Monthly Archives: September 2012
According to an Associated Press article, we may soon see tougher standards in place for federal cleanup of asbestos contamination. The proposed standard emerged after the EPA’s analysis of a Montana town revealed that even the smallest amounts of asbestos can result in lung problems. In Libby, MT, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that trace amounts of asbestos dust had killed hundreds of people. To rid the area of that dust, the standard would need to be 5,000 times stricter than the standard used for previous cleanups.
A proposed standard for federal cleanup of asbestos contamination in a Montana town concludes that even a tiny amount of the material can lead to lung problems – a benchmark far more rigorous than any in the past and one that the industry says could force expensive and unnecessary cleanups across the country.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposal for the northwest Montana town of Libby, where asbestos dust has killed hundreds of people, would be 5,000 times tougher than the standard used in past cleanups addressing airborne asbestos.
The Government Accountability Office has said the cleanup standard could impact about 200 or so industrial sites in 40 states that also received asbestos-tainted vermiculite from Grace’s Montana mine. More than 20 of those sites, posing the highest health risks, have already been cleaned once. Most of those were processing plants where the mineral was heated at high temperatures so it could expand and be used for insulation in millions of homes.
The GAO and asbestos experts said the EPA risk assessment could force more cleanups. And Grace representatives and health officials said the EPA proposal could apply to other types of asbestos found in communities across the country.
While companies such as Grace may understandably want to resist higher cleanup standards, the Fed’s focus is on curbing the number of asbestos related deaths and injuries.