In the summer and fall of 1999, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper investigated and then broke a story (beginning in its November 18, 1999 and November 19, 1999 issues) on mass deaths over decades that have arisen from occupational and even non-occupational exposure to tremolite asbestos dust from vermiculite (Zonolite) mining activities in Libby Montana. The investigation was prompted by a civil court deposition made under oath in 1996 by former mine business manager Earl Lovick which showed that W. R. Grace & Co operated the mine while knowing about the asbestos danger and took no meaningful steps to warn its own workers or the town's residents. After the Post Intelligencer's first articles were published, the early reactions from the local community leaders and local business leaders were of denial and of confusion. As the story has continued to unfold, and as facts become public, the crisis in this small northwestern Montana community has grown.
What is tremolite asbestos, and why is it so deadly?
A sampling of asbestos- and mining-related letters to the editor found in northwest Montana newspapers.
Excerpts from a civil court deposition in which W. R. Grace and Co. was the defendant.
Demographics of the Libby area.
"Dust to Dust", the award-winning documentary film on Libby's asbestos crisis.
Info on how to borrow or to purchase the video
Tiny Libby, Montana has the unenviable distinction of being home to not one Superfund project, but two different Superfund projects. The town's air was poisoned by the mining industry, and its groundwater was poisoned by the logging industry.
Libby, Montana - Asbestos and the Deadly Silence of an American Corporation, by Andrea Peacock. Johnson Books, Boulder, CO.
ISBN 1-55566-319-2. Buy it now.
An Air That Kills - how the asbestos poisoning of Libby, Montana uncovered a national scandal, by Andrew Schneider and David McCumber. Buy it now.
Listen to a radio interview with the authors of An Air That Kills