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Asbestos Study in Libby, MT

Posted on June 23, 2009

After many years in the spotlight as a Superfund site, the town of Libby in Montana is getting some much-needed attention in the form of an 8 million dollar federal effort to study the effects of asbestos exposure on local citizens.

The Libby Amphibole Health Risk Initiative will include intensive research to document and identify the potential links between asbestos exposure and a list of chronic health conditions in the local population.

The recent project initiative follows years of E.P.A. involvement in designating Libby a potentially hazardous area: local legislators are credited with instigating this greater project to take a closer look at the extent of the damage from asbestos production and use.

In an interesting correlation to the idea of greater health care reform, the project will also include strengthening existing public health tracking systems such as the State Cancer Registry and improving patient health record databases.

Other research by the federal National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will help set better standards for examining the effects of asbestos exposure through cutting edge imaging technology. This will no doubt improve the pursuit of many other cases where medical experts need to assess damage from asbestos exposure, which many agree constitutes a kind of national epidemic. Libby, MT stands as a symbol of a greater health issue that plays out all across America—wherever asbestos products are moved and disturbed.

Those involved in monitoring national asbestos exposure can look to the efforts in Libby as a way to chart the progress of modern methods for examining the real results of exposure to these dangerous materials.