Background: Vermiculite Ore From Mine in Libby, Montana was contaminated with Asbestos
Vermiculite, which is used in lawn and garden products, various building materials, and in insulation, was mined and processed in Libby, MT, from the early 1920s until 1990. Although most vermiculite products pose no health problem, the vermiculite ore from the Libby mine was contaminated with asbestos.
Studies have shown that people who worked in the mine and processing facilities and people who lived in the community were exposed to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite during the time the facilities were in operation. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause very serious health problems, including asbestosis and lung cancer.
Records show that the vermiculite ore from Libby was shipped to locations around the United States
Former workers and people around these sites where the vermiculite was shipped may have been exposed to asbestos in ways such as handling of the ore, playing in the by-products, or workers taking home dust on their clothes.
The National Asbestos Exposure Review will work with other federal, state, and local environmental and public health agencies to:
Evaluate selected sites to identify past and present exposure pathways (ways in which the community could have been exposed to asbestos from contaminated vermiculite).
Evaluate exposure pathways at selected sites to determine: 1) if there is a significant hazard to public health; and 2) what further actions are necessary to protect public health.
Formulate a plan for determining additional public health actions at sites not considered in the initial evaluation.Courtesy of The Government of the State of Michigan