Tester, Walsh: Completed health assessment provides certainty for families in Libby and Troy

EPA assessment confirms reduction in cancer and non-cancer risks associated with asbestos exposure

(U.S. SENATE)-Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh are welcoming the completion of the EPA’s health assessment showing that asbestos clean-up efforts in Libby and Troy are working for Montana families. Since 2007, following an investigation initiated by EPA’s Office of the Inspector General at the request of the Montana congressional delegation, the EPA had been conducting a complex toxicology assessment to analyze the exposure and health risks related to the type of asbestos found at the Libby Superfund Site.

The health assessment and a draft site-specific risk assessment confirm actions taken by the EPA have reduced the danger of exposure to asbestos for the families in Libby and Troy. Repeatedly since 2007, Senator Tester and then-Senator Max Baucus urged EPA to complete the health assessment and identify the next steps of the clean-up process. In 2012, they urged EPA to follow the advice of its Science Advisory Board and resist the recommendations of W.R. Grace and Company about the draft health assessment.

“Folks in Libby and Troy have spent years – and many have died – waiting to find out what will happen to their homes and community,” Tester said. “While local residents are not out of the woods yet, today’s report shows that the clean-up effort is working and many homes and schools are safe for families and children. I encourage folks to make their voices heard as the EPA, the state of Montana and community leaders continue building the future of Libby.”

“The families of Libby and Troy deserve transparency in this process, and we welcome today’s news that clean-up efforts have been effective,” Walsh said. “The conclusions in the assessments released today will allow us to take the proper next steps to control or eliminate risks associated with asbestos exposure.”

High amounts of asbestos contamination led the EPA to place Libby on the Superfund National Priorities list in 2002. The EPA has since completed the cleanup of more than 2,000 contaminated properties.

The abundance of asbestos is the result of a vermiculite mine operated in Libby until 1990. Hundreds of people have died since then of asbestos-related diseases in Libby.