NBC News in Libby, Montana is reporting that the federal government is continuing to aid residents who were exposed to asbestos, even though the mine there closed in 1990.
Asbestos exposure can lead to the incurable cancer mesothelioma and can cause a host of other medical problems. Mesothelioma Lawyers have been publishing a series of blogs about the effects of the vermiculite mined in Libby from 1919 to 1990 and shipped to plants across the country. Vermiculite is a natural mineral that can contain asbestos. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, either through mining or exfoliating the substance, through service in the United States armed forces or through older buildings that used it for insulation, consult with our firm today.
In Libby, thousands have become ill and hundreds have died because of exposure to microscopic asbestos fibers, which are inhaled and travel through the bloodstream, attaching to vital organs, such as the heart or lungs. The incubation period can last for 30 or 40 years before a person is diagnosed with an illness and many people don’t know they are sick until it’s too late.
According to NBC, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will offer additional medical benefits to Libby residents as part of a coordinated effort among several federal agencies. It wasn’t until 2009 that the Environmental Protection Agency declared Libby a public health emergency, 19 years after the mine closed.
Until now, Libby residents have received benefits from temporary grant programs through the state and the Health Resources and Services Administration, NBC reports. The pilot program, though, will offer home care services, special medical equipment, help with travel to get care, counseling, nutritional supplements and prescription drugs not covered by Medicare.
In 2009, W.R. Grace & Company, which operated the mine, was acquitted by a federal jury of exposing the city’s 100,000 residents for decades. The exposure has led to more than 200 deaths and 1,000 illnesses, CNN reports.
A CNN article published the same year reported that the EPA had dedicated more than $130 million to help clean up the area and aid in medical assistance. Through 2009, the city had received $33 million in aid from the EPA.
These numbers and the continued help Libby has received shows just how bad the situation is. With federal prosecutors seeking criminal charges against W.R. Grace & Company’s executives, alleging they knew of the effects and did nothing, and the federal government pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to help the citizens, it is truly a disaster.
But what people must keep in mind is that while Libby was the epicenter of vermiculite mining, the company shipped millions of tons of the asbestos-laced mineral all across the country, from Florida to Massachusetts, Illinois and Texas. Millions of people, some in large cities, could have been exposed to this dangerous substance.
if you may have been exposed to asbestos, meet with a doctor who specializes in asbestos-related illnesses. If you are diagnosed with an illness, consult with our law firm, which may be able to help you receive aid for unjustly being exposed.
The Ferraro Law Firm provides extensive legal services, including cases related to asbestos exposure and mesothelioma lawsuits. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.